Wednesday, June 25, 2008

High Court, slashing Exxon Mobil tab, declares itself the Official Tool of CorporateAmerica, a wholly owned subsidiary of CheneyCo


"The new law made by the court should have been left to Congress."
-- Justice Ginsburg, dissenting from the made-up majority opinion that
punitive damages can't exceed actual economic compensation

With Justice David Souter of all people writing for the Roberts Court's CorporateAmerica majority, the Supreme Court voted today 5-3 to slash the punitive damages Exxon Mobil Corp. must pay to victims of the Exxon Valdez oil wreck -- previously halved to $2.5 billion by lower courts -- all the way down to $500 million, on the theory that the company can't be made to pay victims more in punitive damages than they were paid in economic compensation, according to the Associated Press.

Writing in dissent (along with Justice John Paul Stevens), both Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer registered the technical objection that, hey, bub, there's no such law, and law-making is kind of what, y'know, Congress is there to do. "The new law made by the court should have been left to Congress," Justice Ginsburg suggested.

Justice Souter seems to have been concerned that the courts not give up their traditional role as judge of punitive damages.

Justice "Slammin' Sammy" Alito, who recused himself from the case on the ground that he owns Exxon Mobil stock, was allowed by Chief Justice Roberts to carry his Exxon Mobil-colored pompoms to Court deliberations. "I'm sure I could have been impartial," Justice Alito said. "Actually, I think what would have been fair is if all those bird and bunny lovers had been made to pay Exxon Mobil $500 milliion in partial compensation for the $3.4 billion it's already paid out. Nino and Clarence [i.e., Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas] were all set to go for it too. I mean, accidents happen."

On a more personal note, Justice Anthony Kennedy was jubilant. "Oh man, this is sweet," he said. "Ever since Sandy O'Connor left, whenever we do crap like this, I'm usually the swing vote, and people jump up and down and curse me and my family. Personally, I think Soutie's been sniffing too much model-airplane glue. You know, for my last birthday he gave me a model he built, it's really great. Anyway, when he announced his vote, I told him, 'I'm buying lunch.' He got hysterical, 'cause if there's anyone cheaper on the Court than me, it's him."


However, since we can't afford to pay the AP the rates they're now trying to charge bloggers -- more from each blogger, we have to think (even if you use only 50 of their golden words), than they paid the actual writer -- we've supplemented their material with stuff from, er, other sources.

Okay, the Alito and Kennedy quotes we made up. But can anyone prove that this isn't what they were thinking?


Ted Stevens continues taking massive campaign donations from Big Oil in general, and from Exxon in particular, and he continues voting for their very special interests. Mark Begich, the progressive seeking the bring sane representation back to Alaska, points out that "the thousands of Alaskans whose lives were devastated by this disaster are hurt, once again, by this ruling. What we're seeing today is another example of how Washington is out of touch with real people. The justices have sided with corporate America rather than with Alaska families who have suffered for nearly 20 years. Sen. Stevens continues to show he works hard for special interests, but where has he been when it comes to doing what's right for Alaskans? No more delays. Exxon needs to write those checks today."

If you'd like to see a senator representing Alaska's families, workers and consumers-- instead of another well-paid off shill for Corporate America, please consider giving Mark Begich a hand at our Blue America page.

-- Howie

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