Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fighting Goliath & the Idaho Supreme Court

After Judge Bradbury’s decision to rescind ConocoPhillips' permits for over-weight/size shipments along Highway 12 many people assumed there would be an appeal. What has been a surprise is how ConocoPhillips was able to get the Idaho Supreme Court to move their case to the front of the line – moving them ahead of people who have been waiting an average of 10 months to resolve their legal issues.
The reason given for the expedited hearing was financial hardship for ConocoPhillips as they state an estimated $9 million loss if the repairs to their Billings plant are delayed.
To put that in terms an average person can relate to - $9 million dollars is to ConocoPhillips what $2.30 is to a person making $50K/year. That hardly constitutes financial hardship. (See George Prentice article for
No one forced ConocoPhillips to attempt to use this route in the first place. They could have chosen to use the traditional route through the Gulf of Mexico or looked into other options, like shipping the equipment in pieces and welding it together on site in Billings.
Why are Idaho citizens being asked to delay their quest for justice because of a corporations poor planning? What kind of precedent does this set for our Supreme Court if they are willing to give preferential treatment to big business at the expense of the rest of us?
Can ordinary citizens like the plaintiffs expect a fair and impartial hearing, from a court already willing to give preferential treatment to a giant international corporation?

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