Originally Posted by BR
No, really though. Why even leave yourself open to the questions? If the case were so clear, any reasonable judge would rule the same way. Why did this judge have to be the one to make the ruling? Why not recuse himself? What's the downside?
No, really though. Why not just attack the legal reasoning of the decision?
I have no idea why he did not recuse himself. Since this issue is being appealed perhaps we'll find out whether a higher court finds a problem with the decision. Until then it seems that all anyone opposed to the decision can muster is simply innuendo as you are doing here.
Another way to look at it is that he looked at the case and found the decision to be so obvious that it would stand on its own merits to anyone who chose to look past his "obvious conflict of interest", so he just made the call. I really don't know. My quarrel is with the superficiality with which the critics have approached this.
Let put it this way: Maybe the decision is a bad legal decision. That is certainly possible. But the punditry does not appear to be directly questioning and investigating that, instead it is content with simply talking around the edges and trying to leave the implication that it must
be bad because, well he has an "obvious conflict of interest" and he's "in the back pocket of 'Big Oil'."
Perhaps a dose of facts might be helpful here:Judge sold Exxon stock just before drilling ruling
Judge In Moratorium Case Sold Exxon Stock This Week
A federal judge who overturned a six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico says he learned he owned Exxon stock several hours after he heard the case.
A statement released by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's chambers in New Orleans says the judge instructed his broker to sell his stock in Exxon and a subsidiary as soon as the market opened June 22. That was the day after the hearing.
Feldman says his broker told him his stock was sold several hours before he struck down the Obama administration's drilling moratorium. The judge also said he didn't know if he made a profit or loss on the sale.
Exxon isn't a party in the case, but the company had one of the 33 existing exploratory rigs shut down by the moratorium imposed because of the Gulf spill.
The judge bought less than $15,000 of Exxon stock in December 2009, according to the documents.
As of the end of 2009, Judge Feldman does not appear to have owned stock in any other company using rigs affected by the moratorium, according to a review of his holdings and a list of such companies provided by staff of Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who sits on the Senate's energy and natural resources committee.
Moratorium judge owned shares in 17 oil and gas industry firms last year
In 2008, Judge Feldman owned a stake in Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, but the documents suggest he sold those holdings in 2009.
Feldman’s 2008 report said he had sold his interests in Quicksilver Resources, a natural gas and oil exploration company based in Fort Worth. His latest disclosure form, however, shows he earned dividends of less than $1,000 on his investment in the company last year, the value of which he reported at less than $15,000.
The financial disclosure forms require that judges provide only a range of values, rather than the actual amounts of their interests.
Feldman also bought shares in Exxon Mobil last year, according to the report, also with a value below $15,000. Dow Jones News Service reported that Feldman sold his Exxon holdings on June 22, just before hearing the case. Exxon Mobil has interests in the Gulf that were affected by the moratorium, Dow Jones reported.
The judge last year bought or retained interest of that same value range in Valero Energy Corp., Crosstex Energy, Petrohawk Energy Corp., Enterprise Product Partners, Energy Transfer Equity, Basic Energy Services, EV Energy Partners, Macquarie Infrastructure, El Paso Corp., Provident Energy Trust, Peabody Energy Corp. and Ocean Energy Notes, the report said.
Feldman reported that he sold shares in August in Atlas Energy Resources and BPZ Resource Inc., posting gains of less than $1,000 on each.
So we're saying here that a guy who makes over $160,000 a year as a judge is going to deliberately make decision that, at best, affects a few thousand dollars of his investment portfolio?
But how about what the judge said about the moratorium, since that's what's really important here:http://www.glgroup.com/News/Drilling...ase-49245.html
On June 22, 2010, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman granted Hornbeck's motion for a preliminary injunction and enjoined enforcement of any moratorium. Judge Feldman found that the MMS was arbitrary in enacting such a wide-ranging moratorium and did not act in accordance with the laws governing decision-making by federal agencies. The Court was particularly troubled by the Department of Interior's reference to deepwater drilling in depths of 1,000 feet or more in his report, yet the moratorium defined deepwateras 500 feet. Judge Feldman further found that it was incomprehensible how the studies cited by the government justified the moratorium and concluded that sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.
The court concluded that the government has failed to cogently reflect the decision to issue a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium. The court also expressed concerns with the Department of Interiors statement that the moratorium had been subject to review by leading scientists and engineers who consulted on the preparation of the report when those same experts had publicly stated that they had never discussed a six-month moratorium with the Department of Interior nor would have recommended such a reaction had they been so informed. The government characterized the issue as a mistake on their part and stated that MMS or the Department of Interior did not have to submit the idea of a moratorium to the experts for a comment.
The court then concluded that the plaintiffs had demonstrated irreparable harm to themselves and the public arising out of the moratorium. It accepted the fact that the effect of a moratorium would ripple throughout the economy of this region and found that the government was trivializing the effects of the moratorium. In granting the injunction, the court held that an invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this region.
The government has appealed Judge Feldman's order to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. It asked Judge Feldman to stay his injunction pending appeal, but that request was rejected by Judge Feldman. The Fifth Circuit will consider whether to stay the injunction at a hearing on July 8. The government's brief on its appeal of the injunction is due by August 9.
P.S. It's interesting. I don't recall a similar level of skepticism when Barack Obama, as President of the United States, used all of his available power to help bail out the UAW who was a major financial contributor to and political supporter of his campaign for the presidency, in fact a major force in actually getting him elected.