Wednesday :: Jun 25, 2008

Legislating From The Bench


by Turkana

The Washington Post has the lede:

The Supreme Court today threw out a $2.5 billion award of punitive damages against Exxon Mobil Corp. for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, ruling that the award should be limited to the amount of compensatory damages in the case -- about $500 million.

The Associated Press has the Corporate Court's rationale:

Justice David Souter wrote for the court that punitive damages may not exceed what the company already paid to compensate victims for economic losses, about $500 million compensation.

And the same article has three pointed explanations of dissent:

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens supported the $2.5 billion figure for punitive damages, saying Congress has chosen not to impose restrictions in such circumstances.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also dissented, saying the court was engaging in ''lawmaking'' by concluding that punitive damages may not exceed what the company already paid to compensate victims for economic losses.

''The new law made by the court should have been left to Congress,'' wrote Ginsburg. Justice Stephen Breyer made a similar point, opposing a rigid 1 to 1 ratio of punitive damages to victim compensation.

The hypocrite Court "conservatives" once again just make it up as they go.

Turkana :: 10:03 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!