The 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]Related