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Monday, October 29

From Today's WTF File

The Supreme Court has decided to take up review of the fine levied against Exxon Mobil for the Valdez oil spill. Mind you, we are thirteen (!!!!!) years after the fact, and an appeals court has already cut the fine in half. Purportedly, the justices are going to decide whether it is an 8th Amendment violation (the ban on cruel and unusual punishment) in requiring The Big XX to pay any punitive damages at all.

With a market capitalization of a bit more than $520 billion, yearly sales of $375 billion, and yearly income of around $40 billion (or $10 billion a quarter), it's hard to see how the argument that the fine of $2.5 billion was excessive even passes the straight face test. But I'm sure the Roberts court will take the argument very, very seriously.

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