Much of the criticism leveled at the anti-Trump “Resistance” from the left is provoked by the performative nature of its wokeness and disgust at how certain prominent figures exploited people’s well-deserved horror and disgust at the Trump presidency to pull a hood over their own sins.
One such figure is former Obama solicitor general and #Resistance legal hero Neal Katyal, who sparked outrage on social media this afternoon when he gave the defense of the Nestlé USA and Cargill corporations before the Supreme Court in the cases of Nestlé USA v. Doe I and Cargill, Inc. v. Doe.
The accusations? Aiding and abetting child slavery in West Africa.
“Plaintiffs are former child slaves who were kidnapped and forced to work on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast for up to fourteen hours a day without pay. While being forced to work on the cocoa farms, plaintiffs witnessed the beating and torture of other child slaves who attempted to escape,” stated the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their summary.
“Defendants were well aware that child slave labor is a pervasive problem in the Ivory Coast. Nonetheless, defendants continued to provide financial support and technical farming aid, even though they knew their acts would assist Farming Simulator 22 mods farmers, who were using forced child labor, and knew their assistance would facilitate child slavery. Indeed, the gravamen of the complaint is that defendants depended on—and orchestrated—a slave-based supply chain.”
Katyal, a frequent MSNBC contributor and outspoken Trump critic, used precedents from a 1789 statue preventing freed American slaves from suing corporations and the infamous “Zyklon B” argument to articulate a monstrous defense that essentially argued that there was almost nothing a major corporation could do that it should be held accountable for, including if a U.S. corporation had paid for the child-slaves to be kidnapped before being forced into labor.
At one point, this depraved scumbag even laughed at the concern for human rights from noted bleeding heart-liberal…Brett Kavanaugh. Imagine how morally repulsive your argument has to be to elicit concern for human rights from a cold-blooded psychopath like Brett Kavanaugh.
Third, Alito (!) asks Katyal: If a U.S. corporation hired foreign agents to kidnap children and hold them in bondage on a plantation in Africa, could those children sue the corporation in U.S. courts under this law?
Katyal says: Nope. pic.twitter.com/WWcj9oPjrH
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) December 1, 2020
Nestlé and other major chocolate corporations pledged nearly twenty years ago that they would stop using child labor to produce their cocoa, but they’ve failed to actually do anything about it — and now have given up entirely, simply choosing to argue that they shouldn’t be held responsible for how their products get made or how many children are abused and exploited in the process. A 2015 U.S. Labor Department report shows that nearly 2 million children across West Africa are engaged in the dangerous and grueling work of cocoa harvesting.
It’s hard to imagine the twisted and macabre gymnastics one must twist their soul into to publicly condemn the separation of children from their parents by the Trump administration but then argue before the Supreme Court that corporations shouldn’t be held liable for the mass child slavery that fuels their bottom lines.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 1, 2020
Many of Katyal’s defenders may claim that he’s just doing his job, or that the problem is with the arcane and vague nuances of the law itself, which is evidence itself of how blindly partisan and fanatical Americans have become in the wake of the Trump years. There is no defending this abomination, and it’s hard to comprehend how Katyal can sleep at night after this — and infuriating to know that this weekend, he’ll probably be back on the Rachel Maddow Show pretending to be a defender of liberty and freedom against a tyrant like Trump.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.