131 federal judges oversaw cases involving companies in which they or their families owned stock

More than 130 federal judges broke the law and violated ethics by hearing cases involving companies they had a financial interest in over 11 years

A Wall Street Journal investigation has found that 131 federal judges oversaw 685 court cases in the last decade involving companies in which they or their families owned stock. The conflict is a violation of U.S. law and judicial ethics, the newspaper reported. “Nothing bars judges from owning stocks,” the newspaper reported, “but federal law since 1974 has prohibited judges from hearing cases that involve a party in which they, their spouses or their minor children have a ‘legal or equitable interest, however small.’ That law and the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which is the federal courts’ policymaking body, require judges to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.” About two-thirds of the identified judges ruled in favor of their financial interests when deciding contested motions, the newspaper said. The judges were appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents. “Judges offered a variety of explanations for the violations,” the newspaper reported. “Some blamed court clerks. Some said their recusal lists had misspellings that foiled the conflict-screening software. Some pointed to trades that resulted in losses. Others said they had only nominal roles, such as confirming settlements or transferring cases to… Read More

How the Journal Found 700 Judges’ Violations of Law on Conflicts

How the Journal Found 700 Judges Violations of Law on Conflicts

To discover recusal violations, The Wall Street Journal reviewed the financial holdings of roughly 700 federal district and appellate judges and compared them against tens of thousands of court cases. The Journal used data provided by the Free Law Project, a nonpartisan legal-research nonprofit, which requested financial-disclosure forms for all federal judges from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The Free Law Project also gathered disclosures from additional sources to create a searchable database, believed to be the most complete archive of judicial stockholdings. FULL STORY Read More