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Sandra Day O`Connor on Corporations

 


Beneficiaries of eminent domain should not be corporations

Susette Kelo owned a house in New London, CT. In 1998, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer began construction on a new plant in New London. Pfizer convinced the city that it deserved the land in Kelo's neighborhood more than she and her neighbors did. The city utilized its power of eminent domain, which enables the local government to take private property and designate it for public use. Though Kelo was compensated, the government seized her property in the name of "local economic development."

The Supreme Court ruled in the favor of the City of New London. O'Connor expressed outrage in her dissent: "The fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 78-79 , Sep 12, 2012

Sovereign immunity applies to foreign-controlled companies.

Justice O'Connor joined the concurrence on DOLE FOOD v. PATRICKSON on Apr 22, 2003:

In 1997, a group of Central American farm workers alleged injury from chemical exposure against Dole Food Company and the Dead Sea Companies, which produced dibromochloropropane, an agricultural pesticide that harmed the farm workers. Dole argued that the Dead Sea Companies were instrumentalities of a foreign state, Israel, as defined by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) and thus entitled to immunity.

HELD: Delivered by Kennedy; joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg

The Court held, 7-2, that a foreign state must itself own a majority of the shares of a corporation if the corporation is to be deemed an instrumentality of the state under the provisions of the FSIA. The corporate structure ("tiering") in this particular case prevented the Dead Sea Companies from claiming instrumentality status.

CONCURRENCE IN PART and DISSENT IN PART: By Breyer; joined by O'Connor

The phrase "owned by a foreign state" covers a foreign state's legal interest in a corporate subsidiary, where that interest consists of the foreign state's ownership of a corporate parent that owns the shares of the subsidiary. The relevant foreign nation does not DIRECTLY own a majority of the corporate subsidiaries' shares. But (simplifying the facts) it does own a corporate parent, which, in turn, owns the corporate subsidiaries' shares. Does this type of majority-ownership interest count as an example of what the statute calls an "other ownership interest"? The Court says no. I disagree.
Source: Supreme Court case 03-DOLE argued on Jan 22, 2003

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Other Justices on Corporations: Sandra Day O`Connor on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
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Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
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Page last updated: Mar 08, 2014