Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chief Justice Roberts Ready To Rule For Exxon

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Victim
Alaska. Dead Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) dead in the snow died of toxic pollution from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Not only have 20% of the people who sued Exxon for the Valdez oil spill 19 years ago died in the meantime, it looks like our Rethug-dominated Supreme Court will rule against the Alaskans. Because what can what one of the richest corporations in the world do to prevent oil spills? (Double-hulled ships, anyone?) The lawyer who argued the case before the Court had some ideas, but they didn't go over well:

Chief Justice John Roberts was pained.

Exxon Mobil, the giant oil corporation appearing before the Supreme Court yesterday, had earned a profit of nearly $40 billion in 2006, the largest ever reported by a U.S. company -- but that's not what bothered Roberts. What bothered the chief justice was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion -- roughly three weeks' worth of profits -- for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline in the largest oil spill in American history.

"So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?" Roberts asked in court.

The lawyer arguing for the Alaska fishermen affected by the spill, Jeffrey Fisher, had an idea. "Well," he said, "it can hire fit and competent people."

The rare sound of laughter rippled through the august chamber. The chief justice did not look amused.

Moral of this story: Not only do we need more Democrats, we need better Democrats. Here are the 22 supposed "Democrats" who voted to put the archconservative Roberts on the Court for the rest of my life:

* Max Baucus (D - MT)
* Jeff Bingaman (D - NM)
* Robert Byrd (D - WV)
* Thomas Carper (D - DE)
* Kent Conrad (D - ND)
* Christopher Dodd (D - CT)
* Byron Dorgan (D - ND)
* Russell Feingold (D - WI)
* Tim Johnson (D - SD)
* Herb Kohl (D - WI)
* Mary Landrieu (D - LA)
* Patrick Leahy (D - VT)
* Carl Levin (D - MI)
* Joseph Lieberman (D - CT)
* Blanche Lincoln (D - AR)
* Patty Murray (D - WA)
* Bill Nelson (D - FL)
* Ben Nelson (D - NE)
* Mark Pryor (D - AR)
* Jay Rockefeller (D - WV)
* Ken Salazar (D - CO)
* Ron Wyden (D - OR)

Thanks a lot, DINOs. I'll give money to any progressive who challenges any of you.

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