Corporate “Personhood” Should Come With Responsibility of “Personhood”
The US Supreme Court plans to consider the lawsuit in a case that could be a landmark case that could make companies liable for torture or genocide committed overseas.
According to Discovery News, “King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi of the Ogoni and four other tribal leaders seek compensation for half a century of pollution from oil extraction and processing that has sickened people and poisoned the land and drinking water.”
The plaintiffs are suing Royal Dutch Shell under the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789, a law designed to assure foreign governments that the U.S. would uphold international law.
A lawyer for the defendants said that the law was intended to apply to persons, not corporations, but, as the Supreme Court declared last year, corporations are, legally, persons. As far as I’m concerned if corporations can reap the benefits of personhood that come with pouring millions of dollars to influence elections, they should also assume the liability for the actions of their employes who commit crimes in other countries, just as they would if crimes were committed in this country.
This has been the biggest bone of contention about corporate personhood status – the rights versus the responsibilities. Corporations are really devoted to exercising their “rights”…but epic fail on living up to their responsibilities. The problem I see with SCOTUS in this is that SCOTUS has been quite favorable to corporations in the past several decades, which is disgusting.