Thursday, June 26, 2008

Got three right

The Supreme Court of the United States wrapped up its term by getting three of its final four most important decisions right. First, the Court yesterday reduced the $5 billion punitive damages award by an Alaska jury against Exxon for the Valdez spill in 1989 to $507+ million. Thus limiting the punitive damages to the same amount as actual damages and allowing only a doubling of the actual damages award. The Ninth Circuit, in one of the various appeals (justice may be slow, but cases don't take 19 years just to go from trial court to appeal to Supreme Court), had previously limited punitive damages to $2.5 billion.

Second, the Court rejected the Millionaire Amendment to the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, which limited the ability of certain candidates for federal office to spend their own money on their campaigns. This is a restriction on political speech, pure and simple, and violates the First Amendment.

And third, the Court held that the Second Amendment is actually there -- right there, in the Constitution! Seriously, people actually DO have the right to keep and bear arms, just like the Constitution says! And even if they're just doing so to protect their own homes, like Mr. Heller, a policeman in the District of Columbia, they can still get a gun! Better yet, people keeping guns in the house for self-defense do not have to keep the guns disassembled or hobbled by a trigger lock! Seriously, which part of this case should not have been a no-brainer.

Of course, the Court bonked by extending protection from a swift and painless death to convicted perverts who raped children, but at least Kennedy only honked one big one, not four.

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