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2 Feb 2012

Marcia Coyle, Corporate Counsel [USA]

Will Alien Tort Case be the Next Citizens United? [USA]

The next Citizens United…may have nothing to do with campaign finance or the First Amendment…Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum..., involves the Alien Tort Statute (ATS)…Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights...[said], "Citizens United recognized rights of corporations. It's important in this case that we're also discussing obligations of corporations..."...In Kiobel…[2nd Circuit] judges concluded that “although customary international law has sometimes extended the scope of liability for a violation of a given norm to individuals, it has never extended the scope of liability to a corporation”...Gallagher...[said,] “The question of whether the ATS…give some kind of safe harbor or immunity to corporations is at play here. Why is it that they would possibly be immune when Sosa [v. Alvarez-Machain] clearly set out that the...[ATS] grants jurisdiction over this small class of egregious conduct? This is a moment in the post-Sosa era that we’ve all known is coming and here it is.”[also refers to Rio Tinto]