Moratorium Judge Owns Drilling Stocks

The federal judge who overturned President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling owns stock in six companies that profit from offshore drilling. 

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman issued a preliminary injunction today barring the enforcement of the president’s proposed six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, arguing that the ban is too broad.

According to Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure form, posted online by Judicial Watch [pdf], the judge owned stock in Transocean, as well as five other companies that are either directly or indirectly involved in the offshore drilling business.

It’s not surprising that Feldman, who is a judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, has invested in the offshore drilling business — an Associated Press investigation found earlier this month that more than half the federal judges in the districts affected by the BP spill have financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

It’s not like the judge is widely profitting from these companies, he only owns between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of stock in each company. But it strikes me as curious that he wouldn’t recuse himself as he’s clearly not unbiased.

The appeals process of this should be very interesting.

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