Oral arguments in Jesner v. Arab bank: Supreme Court may favor two steps to corporate liability for human rights violations
...At oral argument, the Justices seemed to be looking at the question in two steps: (1) whether customary international law permits corporate liability; and (2) assuming it does, whether the ATS cause of action should be interpreted to permit corporate liability.
...[T]he key question at step one of the ATS analysis is whether the customary international law norms that are actionable under the ATS distinguish between natural persons and corporations...none of these norms do.
At the second step in the analysis, some of the Justices expressed concern about the foreign relations implications of holding corporations liable for human rights violations.
...The concerns expressed at oral argument by the more conservative Justices have little to do with corporate liability...
...the particular norm of customary international law must apply to a corporation before a corporation may be sued under the ATS for violating that norm... all of the norms actionable under the ATS do apply to corporations.