UPDATE: Here is the latest.

The [Supreme Court] will be asked to decide whether the corporations to which they have been extending the rights of individuals should also be held accountable for crimes against human rights, just as individuals are.
[…]
Many “friend of the court” briefs filed by corporations in this case contend that the companies are committed to voluntarily complying with human rights norms — but that standards set by the United Nations and other public and private organizations are mere guidelines that are not enforceable as legal norms. What they are really saying is that there are legal norms against torture and such, but that they can’t be enforced against corporations because they have never been enforced under international law — a claim the plaintiffs strongly contest.

This leaves the Supreme Court with an extraordinary choice to make, in juxtaposition to its previous ruling in Citizens United: whether to accept an argument that, in effect, leaves corporations less culpable than individuals are for human rights violations committed abroad — or whether to hold that if a 200-year-old law can be used to hold individual violators to account, it can be used against corporate violators as well.



  1. LibertyLover says:

    Interesting.

    If they rule in favor of the corporations, the next logical step is that corporations have no liability at all and tort limits will be dropped to $0.

    I am curious who would go to jail . . . do all shareholders get an equal share of jail time?

    • Anonymous says:

      The shareholders wouldn’t go to jail any more than any totally innocent employees would.

      Just like anything, you place blame where blame belongs and punish the people who are responsible! It’s a little understood concept in American business (or law) called accountability!

      In politics, we just vote their butts out of office (assuming there are enough smart people who know how to vote). But with business, almost no one has that kind of power. Unions comes close, but it’s not the same as if a bunch of consumers decide to stop purchasing products or doing business with a company because that company was/is doing bad things.

      So when you think about it, this sounds good for all the “lemmings” (consumers) who can’t seem to figure out which businesses are bad – like AT&T or nearly every commercial bank in America! Cause if a company knowingly screws you over because of bad policy or something then how is that any different than if your local politician does it – or your friendly neighborhood cat burglar?

      • LibertyLover says:

        The shareholders wouldn’t go to jail any more than any totally innocent employees would.

        Oh, I know. I was just being silly.

      • hux says:

        In politics, we just vote their butts out of office (assuming there are enough smart people who know how to vote).

        Well, THERE’S your problem

  2. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    No reason at all not to have “The Death Penalty” for corporations. Take a company like BP, or that Mining Company in Kentucky, or any Company run by the Koch Brothers (like Brawny Towels) and charge them with murder, genocide, dirty asses, -whatever- and if guilty they suffer Capital Punishment ((get it???—Capital?==its actually quite fitting)) and take all their money. Forfeit all assets to the government treasury.

    Easy Peasy. But corporations are not people==they are a vehicle to fleece people of their money for the benefit of white collar criminals. Hey—there’s the germ of another idea.

    Lots of remedies. No will or imagination to use them.

    Bank Fraud of 2008–not a single indictment. Criminals encouraged and are doing it again. “Who could see it coming?”

    YOU KNOW–its like Iran and Nukes==no rational business man would take such risks.

    Ha, ha. Silly Hoomans. Taking irrational risks is what we do.

    Same as it ever was.

  3. smartalix says:

    The Right has always been the party of hate, lies, and hypocrisy. Always with them it is do as they say, not as they do. Corporations are people when it benefits them, simple as that. Any other answer makes you a anti-American, even though the real GOP position that corporations count more than real poeple is akin to fascism.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pull your head out!

      BOTH parties are full of hypocrites!

      You might want to READ the Constitution and then look at your own masters within the Democrat party too.

      Try examining the FACTS before you start in with your anti American libtard bullshit.

      • smartalix says:

        When did I say the Dems were the protectors of the faith? They’re a bunch of spineless wimps who are allowing the Right to destroy this country.

        As for being anti-American, making legal entities worth more than a human is the very definition of unconstitutional as it removes the rights of the people. Money is not speech, and corporations aren’t human, simple as that. Putting things ahead of people is sick.

        • Sea Lawyer says:

          Money is not speech, but the act of giving money has been determined to be a form of speech, as it signals your support for the thing you are giving it to.

          And no corporations are not humans, but it is necessarity that they have some form of personhood so that they can exist as independent entities and be able to interact within our legal system.

  4. Mr Anderson says:

    What, send BP to the gas chamber?

    If they have human rights (the SC says they do)
    they should have human liabilities.

  5. Animby says:

    bobbo overstates: “But corporations … are a vehicle to fleece people of their money for the benefit of white collar criminals.”

    Wow, Bobbette! Hyperbole much?
    Before I gave up my practice, I was part of a corporation. Can’t remember ever fleecing anyone. Certainly, I wore a white collar (often) but I sincerely don’t believe I was a criminal.

    Bad logic, Bob.
    Murderers are human.
    Therefore: All humans are murderers?
    White Collar crimes are corporate crimes.
    Therefore: All corps are criminals?

    A corporation is simply a legal device wherein several people pool their resources to take a business risk. Why is that a crime?

    Bobbo – parse thyself…

  6. NewfornatSux says:

    What human rights laws internationally are used against people, in a way that the Supreme Court should recognize?

  7. Rabble Rouser says:

    I’ll believe that corporations are people when Texass executes one!

    Seen on a bumper sticker.

    Corporations are traditionally organizations that are sanctioned, via contract, to do business within a locale (at the very least).
    Early on, they were sanctioned by a charter with a governing body. Nowadays, they may still be sanctioned, but I have never seen their charters taken away for whatever reason. It’s more like these entities have bought lawmakers, lock, stock, and barrel.

    • LibertyLover says:

      I wonder if one could sue the government. The government gives them the charter; they should be responsible for their behavior.

  8. JimD, Boston, MA says:

    I believe that if Corporations are “People” they should be PAYING THE PERSONAL INCOME TAX and not some “Corporate” income tax that they seem able to TOTALLY EVADE !!! Let the Corporations pay their “Personal Income Tax” like the rest of us Persons – by WITHOLDING !!! And let them also pay for MEDICARE, like the rest of us PERSONS !!! Let the Federal Elections Comission determine if Corporations have paid their PERSONAL INCOME TAX ON THOSE “UNLIMITED CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS” AS WELL !!!

    • Sea Lawyer says:

      I realize you aren’t very smart, but you do know that even us flesh and blood “people” have different tax rates levied upon us depending on the types and level of income? Or that corporations, being employers, are responsible for directly paying a portion of the payroll and FICA taxes collected?

  9. moebeans says:

    Now that corporations are people when they merge it would it be considered a marriage correct?

    So if two corporations of the same business sector (say two telecommunication companies) merge is that considered a same sex gay marriage? Will they be denied the same rights that married gay people are currently denied by the federal govt?

    For better or worse…

  10. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    Animby, doing a good job at aping the ignorant says:
    2/28/2012 at 9:34 am

    bobbo overstates: “But corporations … are a vehicle to fleece people of their money for the benefit of white collar criminals.”

    Wow, Bobbette! Hyperbole much? /// Exactly. Making a point by exaggeration. Or, we could go circular: corporations are criminal when they engage in criminal activities===then rinse and repeat.

    Yes, a 20 man medical group upcoding their short visits to intermediate visits is not a criminal organization compared to the international actors the subject of this thread.

    But why be relevant when you can be otherwise?

  11. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    As coincidence would have it, unless Gawd truly does monitor my every move and druther, seems we all grade ourselves above the curve:

    http://mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/stories/why-youre-not-as-great-as-you-think-you-are

    I have always “de-valued” my own attributes: “Doesn’t everyone know this?” is my constant perception. There isn’t a game show on tv that “most” other people don’t do better than me. I watched Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader and could have made a million bucks two times in a row but then blew it on “T or F: All Birds are Mammals” and I thought True because all birds are warm blooded and I might have rung in on that answer before defining “mammal.” One of my favorite parts really. And I wasn’t even on stage and rattled.

    The pucker factor. I’ve experienced that a few times. Always embarassing. I thought I was better than that. ((Nothing some training a repetition wouldn’t overcome?))

  12. NewfornatSux says:

    Whether against a company or a person, it is ridiculous to bring a suit against someone in US court for what they did in another country in violation of that country’s laws against residents of that other country.

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

      Been a long time since I read such mindless BS.

      Thanks?

      But lets not post such crap for at least another year?

  13. orchidcup says:

    Should Corporations Have More Leeway to Kill Than People Do?

    NEXT week, the Supreme Court will hear a case with many potential ramifications for American and international law, and for corporate responsibility for human rights around the globe.

    The justices will be asked to decide whether the corporations to which they have been extending the rights of individuals should also be held accountable for crimes against human rights, just as individuals are.

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the alien torts ruling, which could produce its first decision regarding corporate personhood since Citizens United.

  14. Publius says:

    Corporations have a right to jail time and execution in Texas?

    I’ll believe it when I see it

    No milk without the cow.

  15. Publius says:

    I haven’t seen just a person’s thumb go to jail.

    No milk without the cow.

    The whole corporation goes to jail, or none of it, when sentenced for being guilty of crimes of shoplifting and such.

  16. David says:

    Of course. IF you claim corporations are legally people and entitled to “free speech” as if they were legal citizens, then the corporation has to be held to all the same laws as any human.

    What is the POSSIBLE other option? That corporations get to play “people” when it comes to politics but are not held to any of the same legal standards?

    This ruling (corporations are people) falls under the famous “be careful what you ask for, you may get it” rule.

    • dusanmal says:

      True, but most here forget underlying issue: this is not so much about American laws but international. This is attempt on introducing UN rule onto US legal system. That part is unacceptable.
      As far as these are American laws applied to American companies where there is a proper jurisdiction (and for that matter I am fine with Chinese laws applied to companies there where there is Chinese jurisdiction,… and so on) – yes, corporations should be held to the fire. For all those concerned about how ridiculous is that corporation goes to jail… CEO is one in charge – the head who should suffer legal consequences.
      But, yet again, one must underline two fundamental bits: these must be American laws NOT any UN “standards” created without representation. These laws MUST be applied where there is a jurisdiction – we do not own the World, World does not owe us.

  17. ECA says:

    30%+ TAX…all the way…

  18. Skeptic: Post # ≥1 says:

    I can see how it makes sense. Just look how many married politicians have been caught with their dick in a corporation…

    it’s all oral consent… no paper trail… although you could argue that since the favor was done “under the table”, that it’s not really sex.

  19. Hmeyers2 says:

    Some days I complain about Uncle Dave’s articles but this latest batch is on the mark and witty. He’s on fire.

    Superb article photo.

  20. NewfornatSux says:

    A court just declared that the University of Virginia cannot be treated as a person for the purposes of a civil investigative order. Very strange, as those types of warrants I thought were specifically to be used against businesses.


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