The Supreme Court is opening up a real can of worms here. In Citizens United, the Supremes determined that corporations were indeed entitled to First Amendment rights. This decision was a contribution to the idea that corporations are people. But if they rule with Royal Dutch in this case, then they will be elevating corporations above personhood, in that, while having the rights of individuals, they will not be held to any standard of responsibility, as people are. While people are not allowed to get away with murder overseas, corporations will have a free hand to do exactly that.First to hit the docket was a 10-year-old lawsuit that could determine the liability of corporations for human rights violations committed overseas under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789. While it involves claims of 12 Nigerian nationals against Royal Dutch Petroleum for atrocities committed in Nigeria by that country's military, it could have broad implications for American companies, U.S. foreign policy and citizens living abroad.
Hopefully, the idea of corporate personhood will eventually die out, as the Supremes may revisit Citizens United in the near future, and this silliness can be put to rest, once and for all. But if corporations are responsible for atrocities, then they must be held accountable in either case, personhood or not, and made to pay the price for their actions.
Article is here.