CRF Blog

Corporate Rights and Human Rights

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times’ Room for Debate lets various knowledgeable contributors discuss news events and other timely issues. One recent debate covered: Corporate Rights and Human Rights.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum over whether corporations can be sued for human rights violations overseas. The plaintiffs filed suit in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute, a law enacted by Congress in 1789, that empowers the federal courts to hear cases by foreigners bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Should the Alien Tort Statute hold corporations liable for heinous crimes? Is there a more effective way to do this? [more]