Federal judges have long been accused of holding too much power, but they’ve also been accused, on some occasions, of presiding over cases that should have resulted in a recusal, and a bombshell piece from The Wall Street Journal last week shed much-needed light on the subject.
According to the Daily Mail, the Journal uncovered in an investigation that some 131 federal judges actually broke federal law by presiding over cases involving companies in which family members held stock.
Even worse, of those 131 alleged offenders, the number of cases in which the judges should’ve recused themselves totals 685, and that’s only since 2010.
Unsurprisingly, but no less sickening, the cases in which the federal judges presided, but shouldn’t have, overwhelming went in favor of the companies involved for which the judge’s families held direct stock.
Specifically, around two-thirds of cases ruled in favor of the companies of which the judge’s family members were shareholders.
The Journal reportedly confronted the judges who were included in the investigation, and the situation became quite interesting, as it’s reported that 56 of the judges began immediately notifying the parties involved in some 329 lawsuits that met the criteria of possible lawbreaking.
As the Daily Mail reported, a number of the judges offered various excuses, with some citing clerical errors or other general ignorance at the time. Others said little things like misspellings and various errors caused the cases that were investigated to fall through the proverbial cracks.
However, while it’s certainly reasonable that a number of the cases could, in fact, have inadvertently made it through screening measures, the report pointed to a number of cases where the judge’s undeniably benefited from presiding over the case and then ruling in favor of the company in which they or family members held stock.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts issued a statement in the wake of the bombshell WSJ report, writing, “The Wall Street Journal’s report on instances where conflicts inadvertently were not identified before a case was resolved or transferred is troubling, and the Administrative Office is carefully reviewing the matter.”