Home / General / Time for a judicial ethics commission

Time for a judicial ethics commission


Article III judges are on the take, but what do you expect from people who effectively can’t be removed as long as they issue rulings congenial to the party that controls at least 1/3 of the seats in the Senate?

Mary Geiger Lewis acquired Walmart Inc. stock. Charles Norgle Sr. reported nearly a dozen buys and sells of Pfizer Inc. shares. Charles Siragusa had two accounts that bought Medtronic PLC stock.

None of that would be a problem, except for this: All are federal judges, and at the time of the trades, all were hearing cases involving those companies.

The Wall Street Journal discovered this trading in a broad investigation that identified 131 federal judges who heard hundreds of cases between 2010 and 2018 involving companies in which they or a family member owned stock—in violation of federal law and judicial-ethics rules.

Judges Lewis, Norgle and Siragusa were among 61 judges who didn’t just own stocks of companies that were litigants in their courtrooms. Accounts held by the judges or their families traded shares as suits were progressing, the Journal’s investigation found. Nearly half of the judges reported more than one trade while a case was in progress.

Federal law and ethics rules say judges must recuse themselves if they, their spouse or any minor children own even a single share of a company that is a plaintiff or defendant in a case before them.

But wait, we already have a commission on the judiciary ready to tell the truth: that everything is just fine, and to say anything else would threaten our most precious resource at all, the ability of the federal courts to be treated with unquestioned deference no matter what their actual conduct is.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
It is main inner container footer text