W.R. Grace and Company, which is facing federal criminal charges, has gone to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), asking the justices to review pretrial issues in the government’s asbestos case. It is a loophole that could very well allow W.R. Grace and Company to avoid accountability altogether.
The government filed an indictment against Grace in 2005, charging that the company and its management engaged in a criminal conspiracy to conceal information about the health risks of asbestos exposure. In its petition to the SCOTUS, corporate attorneys for Grace argue that at the time the company was operating its asbestos mines in Libby, those particular toxins were not covered under the Clean Air Act, and therefore, the company bears no liability for the release of such toxins or injuring resulting from such release. Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula found in favor of Grace in 2006.
However, his ruling was overturned in Seattle last year by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, W.R. Grace and Company has taken its case to the highest court in the nation–where recent rulings and history strongly indicate that justice may not be served for the asbestos victims of Libby, who will have nowhere else to turn. Despite his protestations to the contrary during his confirmation hearings in 2005, former corporate lawyer and champion John Roberts–53 years young and now sitting on the SCOTUS where he may remain for the next 30 to 45 years–may be the best and highest-placed friend that Corporate America has ever had. Meanwhile, victims of corporate crime may have little, if any chance for justice–because according to Robert’s philosophy, there’s no such thing as “corporate crime.” W.R. Grace and Company, however, still making multi-billion dollar profits despite its seeking refuge in Chapter 11, has a definite chance of having all charges against it dropped by the Roberts Supreme Court. Citizens have 30 days in which to file a response to the Grace petition–if any on the SCOTUS will listen or care.