just in time for the third eye blind reunion tour

Supreme Court: Enron Really Wasn’t So Bad, Actually!

This is actually the other guy, but whateverThe first year and a half or so of the ’00s sure seem pretty awesome in retrospect, right? The worst we had to worry about was Al Gore’s “lock box” and the sudden discovery that maybe sometimes corporations acted in the interests of their own short-term profit, rather than for the greater good of society! One of these corporations was called “Enron,” and everyone was really mad about it, for a while, and eventually some of the people who ran it went to jail. Except now the Supreme Court has thrown out a lot of the charges, because really, crimes from 1999, who can even imagine what those must have been like, now

Your editor actually lived in California in these happy bygone days, and was once sent home from work because of the “rolling blackouts” that were ultimately revealed to have been caused by Enron’s chicanery (remember when missing an afternoon of work was the greatest threat to California’s economy?), and later had the odd experience of turning on the TV at the precise moment when Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling angrily told a Congressional committee that company founder Ken Lay “does not deserver prison rape.” Lay went on to “die” (i.e., fake his death and flee to the Bush family compound in Paraguay) before he could be sentenced, but Skilling has been in jail for a while now.

But! The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by liberal communist Judith Ginsburg, ordered that a court review most of Skilling’s convictions. This is one of those brain-thinking type decisions that are actually about fancy law stuff — specifically, whether Skilling was actually guilty of what he was convicted of, “depriv[ing] another of the intangible right of honest services,” since that law only covers “bribery and kickback schemes” rather than just general scumbaggery. But still: throwing out convictions against Enron people! Sure to be popular!

Skilling is still in prison for the moment, so at least there’s that. But America lives in fear that he will soon walk the streets, depriving old ladies and little schoolchildren of honest services, again. [Houston Chronicle]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger
What Others Are Reading

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.

32 comments

  1. McDuff

    Every time some teabagging candidate yaps about how government should stay out of corporations’ business, their opponent should do a commercial using the tape with the voice of the “screw grandma” Enron energy trader on it.

    I will never understand why there weren’t riots in front of Enron HQ after that came out.

  2. Ducksworthy

    BRING ON THE CARTOONS! I’m sick of hearing about these fuksticks and their SCOTUS/Scrotum whatever.

  3. SayItWithWookies

    Thus the high court left the door open for the circuit court to dismiss the tainted charges, send them back to Houston to be retried, or say that even without the honest services theory the government’s case and the convictions still stand. There is no consensus among legal experts on where this might go.

    Oh, that would be great — hey, Mr. Skilling, you won in the Supreme Court. Also, your conviction still stands because you violated plenty more laws than just the one that was ruled not pertinent. So while this jail stinks of urine and body odor, I’m sure to you it’s the aroma of moral victory.

  4. x111e7thst

    [re=606635]Holy Cow!![/re]:I would suggest adopting the Russian model. Poison the fucksticks with unusual radioactive substances. This has the advantage that they die fairly horribly and there is nothing the activist court can do about it.

  5. Serolf Divad

    Wait… are you really surprised that market manipulation and extortion by big business is legal in this country?

  6. user-of-owls

    [re=606638]SayItWithWookies[/re]:

    For you chemists out there, that particular aroma is designated as B(O)P(ee).

  7. Jim89048

    True story: I once chose a medical examiner from a list of medical examiners named Ken Lay, for the irony. And his was the only domestic-sounding name, so I thought I’d be better able to understand what it was he would have to say. Predictably, things did not go as planned.

  8. Gun-toting Progressive

    [re=606662]Jim89048[/re]: So, you got to pick the guy who did your autopsy? How’d that work out?

  9. magic titty

    The Enron wives posing in Playboy was punishment enough. I think we can all agree there.

  10. JMP

    [re=606645]Serolf Divad[/re]: Much of the shit that Enron was made illegal, after they had already done it. But that pesky Constitution will only let us try someone for violating a law already in place when they broke it.

    While the possibility of letting Skilling go is annoying, this decision does seem good on the merits; the “Honest services” law, as used against the Enron execs, really is unconstitutionally vague and pretty much any douchebag activity could be found illegal under it.

  11. Jim89048

    [re=606674]Gun-toting Progressive[/re]: Not all ME’s work with the dead. This was a workplace injury thing. I survived, only to become a hobo.

  12. Snarkalicious

    Are you telling me that the corporations no longer have the right to honest services from their hired Congressmen? Why does SCOTUS hate capitalism?

  13. GOPCrusher

    Skilling needs to stay in prison forever. Just because.
    And I got a five dolla bill that says that Ken Lay and Osama Bin Forgotten are clearing brush on the Bush Ranch in Crawford, TX.

  14. red sky

    [re=606678]JMP[/re]: Agreed. This guy is not going anywhere anytime soon b/c of the mass of other things he was convicted of, but you hate to see schmucks like this get any good news. That said striking down convictions based on vague and ambigious laws is a good thing, lest the McCarthyites in waiting revamp the Alien and Sediion laws.

    This may also get Bruno out of trouble in NY, and I think it might be the only one they got him on.

  15. AnnieGetYourFun

    I, too, lived In California during this time. The rolling blackouts were the only time we were able to take showers, back in the dotcom, pre-burst bubble. Otherwise, they never really let us leave the office.

  16. Katydid

    I wanna know why that fucking fuckstick dickwadian asshole of a thief had any money left to hire lawyers to argue his case all the way to the fucking Supreme Court, is what I wanna know.

  17. Toomush Infermashun

    I’m with Katydid on this one…my poor godson worked for these folks and still hasn’t recovered well enough to plan for his wife and three kids future…

  18. momus

    If he is half as bad as his Chicago meteorologist bother, Tommy Skillethead, is at predicting the weather, he’s guilty!

  19. Carrabuda

    *Judith* Ginsberg? Is that the Ginsberg who took over after Ruth “died of cancer”?

  20. Oblios Cap

    [re=606621]user-of-owls[/re]:

    I think Ken’s living comfortably on some Carribean island. I never saw a body.

Comments are closed.