Monthly Archives: December 2010

A United Nations Blueprint to Promote Human Rights

Martin Lipton is a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. Kevin Schwartz is an associate at Wachtell Lipton. This post discusses a draft of principles to implement the United Nation’s “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework; that draft, which is now open to comment, is available here.

Over the past decade, the United Nations has focused considerable attention on the protection of human rights in the conduct of global business. Leading this effort has been John Ruggie, a professor from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who was appointed Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary-General. In 2008, the U.N. Human Rights Council embraced a framework that broadly conceived of distinct responsibilities for Nations and businesses in the prevention of human rights abuses. But the Council also called on the Special Representative to provide guidance on how Nations and businesses practically may implement the nascent proposal’s broad-textured commitments. Based on extensive research and diverse stakeholder consultations, the Special Representative recently released for public review and comment a potentially significant blueprint — Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework — that begins to define how Nations and businesses may operationalize the ideals of the U.N. framework. This draft report’s sensible guidance will be widely applauded.

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Corporate Law and Political Spending

Lucian Bebchuk is a Professor of Law, Economics, and Finance at Harvard Law School. Robert J. Jackson, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. This post is based on their paper “Corporate Political Speech: Who Decides?” available here.

Last week we presented our article, Corporate Political Speech: Who Decides?, at the Harvard Law Review’s annual Supreme Court Forum. The article is featured in the Review’s Supreme Court issue.

The final version of the paper includes a substantial addition from prior versions: A section assembling empirical evidence on the potential financial significance of political speech. The evidence shows that there is a basis for believing that public corporations may expend material amounts of corporate resources on political speech—and that, using the expanded freedom provided under recent Supreme Court decisions, may well spend even more in the future.

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