OK, I’m not even sure if there can be a mistrial in this, because I’m not a lawyer. However, multiple sources have reported that according to his 2008 disclosure filings, Martin Feldman, the Louisiana judge that recently overturned the executive branch decision to place a 6 month, holds substantial and varied financial interests in the offshore energy sector. These include shares in Transocean, Ocean Energy, Quicksilver Resources, Prospect Energy, Peabody Energy, Pengrowth Energy Trust, Atlas Energy Resources, and Parker Drilling.
Now, as i said, I am not a lawyer, however, I was interested in knowing what the responsibilities of a judge were in this situation, so I consulted a friend who is a lawyer and was given the following. According to Canon 3(C)(1)(c) (don’t ask me what that means)
(1) A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances in which:
(c) the judge knows that the judge, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge’s spouse or minor child residing in the judge’s household has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be affected substancially by the outcome of the proceedings
Now once again, I am not a lawyer, but this seems to be fairly straightforward, any judge that had holdings in the industry where these rulings were being made on should recuse him/herself. Now before we jump to conclusions, we should wait to find out what his current financial holdings are. It is possible that his portfolio was wiped out during the crash, and he liquidated all his assets after this disclosure. The executive has already began to launch an appeal, and unless there has been some change in his holdings, I have trouble imagining this result not being thrown out.
In a show of goodwill from some of the major players in the oil industry (I am getting sick of saying that) Shell and Marathon said they would wait for the appeal to be completed before resuming drilling operations (this could also be because it may be more expensive to have to start, stop then restart their operations, but I am not a drilling expert, so that is really just a musing).