For Immediate Release: Friday, April 30, 2010
Contact: Jim Spearman, 334-262-2221
Alabama GOP Justices Say "Don't
Worry"Drill, Baby Drill'
History Shows Alabama's Big Oil Supreme Court Likely Won'tRequire BP to Pay
MONTGOMERY, AL The oil spill destined for Alabama's shores is a shared tragedy which will inevitably end up in Alabama's court system for years to come.
"The only way for Alabamians to receive economic justice from this environmental calamity washing upon our shores this weekend is for voters to elect impartial justices that are unafraid to upholda jury'spunitive damage verdicts when the evidence and law so requires.Alabama's RepublicanJustices never have, and never will. It is time for voters of Alabama to look at our court candidates in 2010,"saidAlabamaDemocratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham.
The unfolding tragedy in the Gulf Coast will undoubtedly unleash a wave of legal action against BP. This oil spill will most likely destroy fishery habitats, eco-systems and property values -- not to mention the endangered Gulf species it puts at further risk [HC, Tresaugue, 4/30]. It will cost taxpayers billions to clean up and will divert resources from critical areas in order to stop the flow of oil and clean up the spill. Experts have said it may take three months to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf and the consequences of this disaster will linger for years [PR, Raines, 4/29].
Recent history shows the majority-Republican Alabama Supreme Court has unfailingly followed their party's lead. On two separate occasions, the Alabama Supreme Courtoverturned multi-billion dollar verdicts against Exxon-Mobil for stealing Alabama's offshore gas. In 2003, the Alabama Supreme Court sent back to trial a $3.5 billion dollar verdict against Exxon-Mobil and in 2007, the Court again threw out a $3.6 billion dollar verdict against the company. Thesetwo awardswould have helped fund our state government and lessened the effects of budget cuts and proration.
The GOP judges ruled against the people of Alabama in the Exxon-Mobil cases and there is no indication they will hesitate to do so again, passing over our citizens and our fragile coastline in favor of BP. "Our Republican judges have allowed their elections to be bought by Big Oil in the past," Chairman Turnham stated. "Follow themoney and you'll see the exact same thing happening in 2010."
Last year Exxon-Mobil and BP reported net profits of $19.2 billion and $16.5 billion respectively. Neither has, nor will they likely ever pay a punitive award to the people of Alabama as long as the Republicans rule the Alabama Supreme Court. GOP now means: "Giving Oil Penance".