Beyond Corporate Personhood

[Trigger warning for violence.]

So, basically, corporations are people when it's convenient for them—like having the right to free speech so they can donate massive amounts of money to political candidates—and want to not be people when it's convenient for them—like being immunized from civil accountability for human rights violations: "[A]s Judge Pierre Leval explains, if the Supreme Court upholds a Second Circuit decision holding that corporations have total immunity from a law holding the most atrocious human rights violators accountable to international norms, it would enable corporations to profit freely from some of the greatest acts of evil imaginable."
According to the rule my colleagues have created, one who earns profits by commercial exploitation of abuse of fundamental human rights can successfully shield those profits from victims' claims for compensation simply by taking the precaution of conducting the heinous operation in the corporate form. Without any support in either the precedents or the scholarship of international law, the majority take the position that corporations, and other juridical entities, are not subject to international law, and for that reason such violators of fundamental human rights are free to retain any profits so earned without liability to their victims. [...]

The new rule offers to unscrupulous businesses advantages of incorporation never before dreamed of. So long as they incorporate (or act in the form of a trust), businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot's political opponents, or engage in piracy – all without civil liability to victims. By adopting the corporate form, such an enterprise could have hired itself out to operate Nazi extermination camps or the torture chambers of Argentina's dirty war, immune from civil liability to its victims. By protecting profits earned through abuse of fundamental human rights protected by international law, the rule my colleagues have created operates in opposition to the objective of international law to protect those rights.
To sum: If the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the lower court's ruling, corporations will be immune from laws intended to protect individual people from gross human rights abuses, and to deliver them civil justice when their rights are breached.

[H/T to Shaker Cami.]

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