When ExxonMobil recently posted the largest quarterly profit in U.S. corporate history, many people probably cussed under their breath as they filled their tanks with almost $4-per-gallon gasoline.
But the story has deeper meaning for folks in Alabama who have been paying attention to our state courts over the past 10 months or so. One of those folks is our friend Robby Scott Hill at his Revolution Magazine blog.
Hill notes that ExxonMobil made those monstrous profits with the help of Alabama's Supreme Court, which overturned most of a $3.6 billion fraud verdict against the oil giant. Hill has a law degree and used to work in the State Lands Division, so the ExxonMobil ruling hit close to home for him. In fact, Hill used to help administer the leases that ExxonMobil so blatantly butchered.
Here's Hill's take on the ExxonMobil heist:
Headline: Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker and His Staff Attorneys/USAF Intelligence Officers John Eidsmoe & Henry Fowler Look Like Village Idiots After ExxonMobil Once Again Breaks It’s Own Record for Profits
August 1, 2008 by Robby Scott Hill
Parker, Eidsmoe and Fowler wrote the 120+ page decision that completely ignored the ore tenus presumption, overturned decades of State Supreme Court decisions in Alabama and shafted the taxpayer out of 3.6 BILLION dollars in punitive damages awarded at trial court.
As the Legal Research Assistant in the State Lands Division of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources where my co-workers and I administered the offshore oil leases including ExxonMobil’s, my rectum feels especially sore this evening.
Gee thanks guys. The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees and all the fishes in the deep blue sea thank you all for rewarding ExxonMobil for being such a poor steward of our Natural Resources.
Read that first paragraph closely. Hill isn't saying that the Alabama Supreme Court just made a funky 8-1 decision. (The court's lone Democrat, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, issued the lone dissent.) No, he is saying the Supremes violated fundamental procedural rules and years of legal precedent. And Hill doesn't say it, but the Supremes certainly used the U.S. mails in furtherance of their scheme, which makes their actions a federal crime--honest-services mail fraud.
Of course, you won't see anyone in the Bush Justice Department investigating and prosecuting this case. They'll be too busy patting the ExxonMobil gang on the back.
But here is the big picture: Karl Rove and his Alabama henchman, Bill Canary, combined with millions of dollars from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the 1990s to turn Alabama's appellate courts into a GOP playground. This is what the Republican "tort reform" campaign--which would better be called a war on plaintiff's attorneys and consumers--has wrought.
Karl Rove, Bill Canary, and the U.S. C of C got their way. ExxonMobil got its monster profits.
Citizens of Alabama got the shaft.