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Congress & Courts

Progressives Earned a Qualified Supreme Court Win From Clarence Thomas

Slate
 2021-06-17

Cover picture for the articleTechnically, the Supreme Court’s Thursday decision in Nestle v. Doe is a loss for human rights enforcement in the United States. The court ruled unanimously against six former child slaves who sued two major corporations for allegedly aiding and abetting their enslavement. That outcome is no surprise. What is shocking is that the defendants failed to persuade the court to immunize all corporations from lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute. Corporations bet big on Nestle v. Doe, apparently convinced that SCOTUS would use the case to abolish corporate liability under the ATS. Instead, five justices concluded that domestic corporations can be sued under the statute. Nestle thus hands a narrow loss to a half-dozen plaintiffs while opening the door to future litigation against corrupt, abusive, and lawless businesses.

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