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Sarah Palin on legal reform, Exxon Valdez and polar bears



Not much to say about Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, on legal reform issues (certainly a lot less than Sen. Joe Biden). The Pacific Research Institute's 2008 State Liability Index ranks Alaska as having the No. 2 legal climate in outputs (costs) and No. 16 in inputs (laws).

Both Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin proclaim her courage in "taking on big oil," irritating populist rhetoric and not encouraging as far legal philosophy goes, but then, Palin does come from the state where the Exxon Valdez oil spill left an unhappy, expensive legacy. After the Supreme Court's June decision in Exxon Shipping v. Baker, reducing the punitive damages awards, Palin reacted (from The Anchorage Daily News):

Gov. Sarah Palin said she is extremely disappointed with the decision saying the court "gutted the jury's decision on punitive damages" and undercut one of the principal deterrents for marine shipping accidents in Alaska.

"It is tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision," Palin said. "My heart goes out to those affected, especially the families of the thousands of Alaskans who passed away while waiting for justice."

More on the case at Scotuswiki. I don't find anything immediately from Palin commenting on the outrageous Kivalina lawsuit against energy companies (although the state has certainly helped the village of Kivalina against erosion). Earlier in August, the state of Alaska sued the Department of Interior over the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.