This should be an interesting case to watch. Justice Samuel Alito, who owns Exxon stock, is not taking part in the case. A 4-4 split on that or any issue would leave the appeals court ruling in place. If punitive damages are not harsh, this will send a signal to oil companies around the world that they can lower their standards for environmental safety. If Exxon is hurt in the wallet, then oil companies will exercise due diligence in their practices. Corporations are accountable to their shareholders and the only thing that influences their behavior is the bottom line. I'm sure that the neocons that have been trying to stack the courts are hoping their judges deliver along in accordance to the ideology that permeates the Bush administration.