12. Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (2008): Want to send a message to corporate wrongdoers? Don’t expect the Roberts Court to make it easy. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the greatest environmental disasters of the time, and after years and years of litigation, Exxon was finally held responsible for its negligent captain and hit with $5 billion in damages. Then the Supreme Court ruled that Exxon couldn’t be subject to punitive damages in excess of compensatory ones, dropping total damages down to $500 million. Not only did Exxon evade billions in damages, the Supreme Court’s ruling increased the value of its stock by $23 billion in two days. That was particularly a boon to Justice Alito, who chose to recuse himself from the case because he owned Exxon stock.
And now Exxon’s CEO is Trump’s Sec’y of State. (I started to type “our” Sec’y of State, but backspaced.)