Deaths, like wildfires, can sometimes provide an opening for new life to grow. The passing of environmental Heat Miser and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could be an opportunity for the rebirth of a court more inclined to uphold environmental laws and regulations. But one of the people reported to be toward the top of President Obama’s short list of potential nominees, Sri Srinivasan, has a record that worries many green activists. 

Since 2013, Srinivasan has served as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., but before that he worked in the private sector on behalf of some controversial clients. The most infamous was Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron, a company that topped the country’s most hated lists in the early 2000s. Also on those yearly hate lists? ExxonMobil, coincidentally another company Srinivasan has represented.

In 2001, a group of 11 Indonesian villagers went up against the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, filing a lawsuit in U.S. federal court alleging that ExxonMobil had been complicit in human rights abuses against Indonesians. The villagers claimed that Exxon hired members of the Indonesian military to guard its natural gas extraction facility on the island of Sumatra, and that those guards murdered, tortured, and raped people in nearby communities. At the helm of Exxon’s defense was Srinivasan, arguing that corporations aren’t liable in U.S. courts for human rights abuses committed abroad, and that the case should therefore be thrown out.