The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared unwilling to toss out the $2.5 billion punitive damage award against Exxon Mobil Corp. for the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill 19 years ago.

But the justices also seemed to think that $2.5 billion was too much, pointing toward a possible compromise decision that will give partial victories both to the oil company and the class of 32,000 Alaska fishermen and others involved in the case.