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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

Jun 17, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court rejects Republican challenge to Affordable Care Act

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Supreme Court Thursday morning tossed aside conservatives' latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, rejecting the Trump administration’s bid to get the entire health care law thrown out.

Why it matters: The 7-2 ruling will allow the ACA, which covers some 20 million people and has been the law of the land for 11 years, to continue operating. It also shows there are some limits to how much of the Republican agenda can be accomplished through the courts, even with a solid conservative majority.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

CDC: Vaccinated people in COVID hotspots should resume wearing masks

CDC director Rochelle Walensky and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci at a Senate HELP committee hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public settings if they are in parts of the U.S. with substantial to high transmission, among other circumstances.

Why it matters: The guidance, a reversal from recommendations made two months ago, comes as the Delta variant continues to drive up case rates across the country. Millions of people in the U.S. — either by choice or who are ineligible — remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious infection.

Olympics medal tracker

Data: International Olympic Committee; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

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