Supreme Court shields foreign corporations from human-rights suits

Supreme Court shields foreign corporations from human-rights suits

April 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that foreign corporations cannot be sued in U.S. court for violations of international law.

The 5-4 ruling is a loss for about 6,000 foreign victims of terrorist attacks in Israel and Gaza, who accused Jordan-based Arab Bank of using its New York branch to distribute millions to terrorists and their families.

While many victims had wanted to sue the bank in U.S. court, the high court Tuesday disagreed with the legality of the prospect.

“Courts are not well suited to make the required policy judgments that are implicated by corporate liability in cases like this one,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the court’s lead opinion.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the dissenting group, argued the ruling lets companies benefit from corporate status “without having to shoulder attendant fundamental responsibilities.”

“The unique power that corporations wield can be used both for good and for bad,” Sotomayor wrote. “Just as corporations can increase the capacity for production, so, too, some can increase the capacity for suffering.”

After the high court said in 2013 the Alien Tort Statute does not apply to conduct beyond U.S. borders, lower courts dismissed 70 percent of the 40 pending cases.