Jackson Free Press Pushed Faulty Story About Judge’s Stock
On Wednesday, media outlets began reporting that U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman- who overturned the administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium- had financial interest in oil companies including Transocean, the contractor that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig. Obviously the goal was to paint him off as a pawn of the oil industry, and therefore could not be fair in his ruling. Needless to say, the Jackson Free Press ate this up:
The judge, however, owns stock in numerous oil and drilling interests, and may well have a conflict of interest, reports Politics Daily.
Among his oil-related holdings, Feldman owns stock in Transocean, the contractor that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded April 20, setting off the chain of events resulting in the massive amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico since then. He also owns stock in Halliburton, which is also implicated in the disaster.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that more than half the judges in areas affected by the BP disaster “have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases.”
The Bayoubuzz, a Louisiana website, is reporting that judge- who has been reciving death threats because of his ruling- has not had stock in Transocean or Halliburton since 2008:
Much of the sensational reporting on Feldman’s investments was based on outdated information. The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.
If Feldman held financial interests in any of companies involved in the lawsuit or the Deepwater Horizon rig, he would not have been allowed the take the case. The 5th District Court uses a sophisticated computer system to check whether judges have a conflict of interest in any legal proceeding. This system automatically determines whether a judge needs to be recused from a particular case. In this lawsuit, Feldman was allowed to take the case because he did not own any stock related to the parties involved.