Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones notes that the judge who struck down the moratorium on offshore drilling has owned stock in several companies that could be impacted by his decision:
According to the most recently available financial disclosure form for US District Court Judge Martin Feldman, he had holdings of up to $15,000 in Transocean in 2008. He has also recently owned stock in offshore drilling or oilfield service providers Halliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas.
Judge Feldman‘s 2009 financial disclosure form is not yet available, so it could be too soon to jump to conclusions. But if these rumblings (registration required) intimated to The National Law Journal are correct, we may have a serious conflict of interest on our hands:
“There are rumors that all of the judges [in the Eastern District] may have to recuse themselves,” said Robin Greenwald of the New York office of Weitz & Luxenberg, which has asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to name a federal judge from New York to handle the MDL.
Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior federal judges in the Gulf region have financial connections to the energy industry. No fewer than seven of Feldman’s 11 colleagues in the Eastern District of Louisiana recused themselves from cases involving the oil spill.