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More on the Exxon Shipping v. Baker ruling

  • A statement from ExxonMobil's Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson, reaffirming the company's efforts and empathy for Alaskans, but not addressing the legal issues.
  • Lots of coverage and background from the Anchorage Daily News. It includes a visceral, non-legal response from an attorney for the original plaintiffs: "'I prefer to think of it as five of the justices on the Supreme Court going out of their way to help big business,' said Brian O'Neill, one of the main attorneys for the plaintiffs. 'This is a huge favor for big business, that's what it is. They don't feel punished at all by this. It isn't even a mosquito bite. They're laughing.'"
  • The Anchorage Daily News' editorial makes what seems to us the most substantive argument against the ruling, that of justices legislating. "With Wednesday's ruling in the Exxon Valdez punitive damages case, a 5-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court took it upon themselves to write new law that shields corporate wrong-doers." Except a $500-million-plus damage award hardly represents a shield's protection.
  • Legal Newsline notes that the involvement of state AGs did not achieve its desired goals.
  • Otherwise, there's the usual class-warfare inveighing from the left -- Mother Jones blog claims "a long-running campaign by Exxon and other big companies to try to abolish these sorts of awards entirely." Although heated, Doug Kendall at the Huffington Post does hit the top legal/political objections to urge a renewed battle by progressives to control the courts. Make it a textbook case, he says. He means a campaign issue, one infers.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.