Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does Judge Martin Feldman Own Oil Company Stock?

We have no idea. But given what we do know about the judges in the Gulf Coast states, it would not surprise us in the least.

In any event, Judge Feldman has blocked the Obama Administration's proposed 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. (Bad decision here). This doesn't necessarily mean that he is corrupt, nor even that he is so blinded by the combination of his personal financial interests and a reflexive support for big corporations, no matter how irresponsibly they behave. Not necessarily.

He could just be stupid.

However, given what little we know about him (degree from Tulane, 27 years on the bench, advisor to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, lecturer at Cambridge and Princeton) we don't think he's stupid. Which only leaves a couple of other choices.

We trust that, come morning, the press will have given us more with which to fulminate.


Anonymous said...

He DOES own stock, less than $15k as part of a fund of mixed stocks. To suggest that he was "on the take" from the oil companies for $15k WOULD make him stupid as well.

Here's an alternative hypothesis: maybe he believes the other oil companies have a valid point. Maybe a 6-month suspension was an ill-conceived attempt to reverse the poll numbers that showed people were upset with Obama for his inaction. Maybe an entire industry shouldn't fold due to a terrible accident at one rig.

Anonymous said...

Or he could just think that the rule of law is important.

Father said...

Both interesting hypotheses, but wrong. And here's why:

1. "Maybe an entire industry shouldn't fold..." This is specious. What "industry" will fold in 6 months? The oil industry? Obviously not. The offshore drilling industry? Well, the closure of 33 or so deepwater rigs would leave something like 3600 operating in shallower water. So, again, no. You've either been sucked in by the corporate noise machine, or you're part of it.

2. "Rule of law..." What on earth can that even mean? I hope you aren't trying to suggest that government agencies don't have the duty to regulate industries as required by law. Or are you referring to the very narrow finding regarding APA versus OCSLA -- which is never about the rule of law, just about which law applies. At most, if one accepts the judge's finding, the wrong laws were followed, and "capriciously." In fact, the actual rule of law --including, obviously, judicial review -- was never jeopardized here. (And do you really want me to begin listing the recent instances in which a president HAS ignored the law?)

No, the real question is whether, in the midst of a massive oil spill, the precise cause of which remains unclear, the most difficult and dangerous rigs, using technology comparable to the technology that just failed, ought to be shut down for a while in the interests of public safety. It seems obvious to me that they should, and that the law permits the government to do this on a temporary basis. The judge disagrees, as does the energy industry. He says the Administration is "capricious;" I say he's a corporate shill.

Soulbuick02 said...

Something seems wrong when a judge isn't looking out for the best interests of society. This looks like a blatant case of one man taking the side of corporations against the people, for whatever reason. Disturbing, and hopefully not a trend.

Father said...

Sadly, it's not so much a trend as a school of jurisprudence -- the "John Roberts School." I'm only half kidding here; there really are some judges who feel that corporations deserve, and have under law, rights equal to *or greater than* those of individuals or governments.