The dozens of Alaska fishermen sardined into a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals courtroom Friday seemed to only reluctantly accept Judge Andrew Kleinfeld’s statement that the court views “torturing and killing large numbers of people” as “more reprehensible than putting a drunk in charge of a supertanker.”

Brian O’Neill, the lawyer for more than 30,000 people economically affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, didn’t want to minimize the gas company’s mistake.