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The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nestlé USA and Cargill in a lawsuit that accused the corporations of helping perpetuate child slave labor in the Ivory Coast, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The ruling is yet another example of courts imposing "strict limits on lawsuits brought in federal court based on human rights abuses abroad," notes the New York Times.

The state of play: The lawsuit was brought by a group of six citizens of Mali who accused the corporations of trafficking them into slavery as children, per the Times.

  • Nestlé and Cargill "maintain a system of child slavery and forced labor in their Ivory Coast supply chain as a matter of corporate policy to gain a competitive advantage in the U.S. market,” Paul L. Hoffman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in December, according to the Times.

Both companies have denied engaging in child labor.

  • "Nestlé never engaged in the egregious child labor alleged in this suit, and we remain unwavering in our dedication to combating child labor in the cocoa industry," a Nestlé spokesperson said, per Reuters.
  • "We do not tolerate the use of child labor in our operations or supply chains and we are working every day to prevent it," a Cargill spokesperson said in a statement, per Reuters.

The big picture: Thursday's 8-1 vote by the Supreme Court "curbs" the reach of the Alien Tort Statute, a law which allows foreigners to bring lawsuits to U.S. federal courts over international law violations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • The decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the lawsuit had not demonstrated a strong enough connection between the alleged human rights abuses and the U.S.
  • "Nearly all the conduct that they say aided and abetted forced labor - providing training, fertilizer tools, and cash to overseas farms - occurred in Ivory Coast," Thomas wrote in the ruling.

Go deeper

Pence says he hopes Supreme Court will overturn abortion rights

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaking in Budapest on Sept. 23. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he's hopeful the majority-conservative Supreme Court secured during the Trump administration will overturn abortion rights in the United States, according to AP.

Why it matters: Pence made the comments at a biennial forum held in Budapest by conservative leaders concerned about changes in demographics, family values, fertility rates and illegal immigration into Western countries.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

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