"Withdraw, my lord, I'll help you to a horse" – King Martin of Feldman denies Motion for (his)Disqualification

His Majesty denied the Motion for (his) Disqualification in an Order signed last Friday (7/16/2010) but entered on the docket today (7/19/2010):

Before the Court are the following motions: (1) defendant intervenors’ Motion for Disqualification and (2) defendant intervenors’ Motion for Expedited Hearing on the Motion for Disqualification.

IT IS ORDERED: that the Motion for Expedited Hearing is GRANTED.

The Motion for Disqualification is without merit under In re Placid Oil Co., 802 F.2d 783 (5th Cir. 1986). Accordingly, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: that the Motion for Disqualification is DENIED.

The Docket doesn’t show a hearing; so, do we assume he held a hearing with himself before denying the Motion? “My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse!” but In re Placid Oil was not a horse Feldman could ride:

This circuit has recognized that the question of recusal is reviewable on a petition for a writ of mandamus. See In re City of Houston, 745 F.2d 925, 927 (5th Cir.1984). However, the writ will not lie in the absence of exceptional circumstances, id., and the party seeking the writ has the burden of proving a clear and indisputable right to it. United States v. Gregory, 656 F.2d 1132, 1136 (5th Cir.1981). The issue of recusal requires a sensitive weighing of the circumstances in each case and is committed to the sound discretion of the district judge. City of Houston, 745 F.2d at 927…

We are unwilling to adopt a rule requiring recusal in every case in which a judge owns stock of a company in the same industry as one of the parties to the case, and Petitioners, by showing only an indirect and speculative interest, have failed to sufficiently distinguish this case from that situation. A remote, contingent, and speculative interest is not a financial interest within the meaning of the recusal statute, cf. City of Houston, 745 F.2d at 931, nor does it create a situation in which a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

Aside from the thought that a judge whose conduct is subject to a Motion of Disqualification might lack “sound discretion”, Feldman’s “financial interest” could hardly be called, “remote, contingent and speculative” but Drilling Ban Judge Won’t Step Down Due to Investments: (h/t Editilla)

The judge who threw out the government’s deep-water drilling ban refused to step aside over alleged conflicts of interest because of his energy investments.

“The motion for disqualification is without merit,’’ U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said in an order posted today on the New Orleans federal court’s website.

The Obama administration imposed a six-month ban on drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet in May in response to the worst oil spill in U.S. history, caused by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana. The Transocean Ltd. rig is leased to BP Plc.

Hornbeck Offshore Services, more than a dozen offshore service providers and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal sued to overturn the ban, claiming the drilling suspension is turning an “environmental disaster into an economic catastrophe.’’

Feldman threw out the ban on June 22, declaring it was overly broad and punitive to a regional economy dependent on the oil and gas industry. Feldman’s order is being appealed by the government. As the trial judge, he will preside over any future proceedings in the district court.

Environmental groups asked the judge to withdraw from the moratorium case on July 2. The organizations said they investigated Feldman’s investments after joining the case in support of the government’s attempt to restore the drilling ban.

Feldman’s Holdings

The environmentalists contend that under rules of the courts, the judge’s holdings in Ocean Energy Notes, Allis Chalmers Corp., El Paso Corp. and other offshore and energy- related companies should bar his ruling in the moratorium case.

Feldman also drew criticism for selling shares of Exxon Mobil Corp., which had an offshore well idled by the drilling moratorium, the morning after hearing arguments in the case. He issued his ruling scrapping the ban several hours later.

Feldman said in a statement released by his staff that he ordered his broker to sell the Exxon Mobil shares immediately, after he belatedly realized they were in his portfolio.

“Disqualification becomes automatic from the moment a judge discovers’’ a financial interest, Catherine Wannamaker, an environmental lawyer, said July 2 in a court filing, quoting a higher-court ruling.

The conflict can’t be resolved by immediately selling shares, Wannamaker wrote, citing precedents by the New Orleans appeals court for Feldman’s district.

King Richard:
A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!

Catesby:
Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.

King Richard:
Slave! I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.

Richard The Third Act 5, scene 4, 7–10

2 thoughts on “"Withdraw, my lord, I'll help you to a horse" – King Martin of Feldman denies Motion for (his)Disqualification”

  1. My legal research in “disqualification and/or recusal” matters is at my office and in the record of the criminal proceedings brought against me (Criminal Case No. 10-034), my bankruptcy proceedings (Case No. 09-12627) or the case brought against me by the so-called “expert witness”, and presided over by the lazy, stupid and corrupt Lemelle, who had previously wrongfully suspended me from the practice of law for 5 years (Civil Action N. 07-3129). However, the BASIC FLAW in a legal system which allows the very same Judge whose disqualification/recusal is being sought to rule on the said motion should be OBVIOUS, even to non-lawyers. As to Feldman, recall that the “hearing” was held on June 23, 2010 (the case was already decided at the time of the hearing – Yes, Marty, let’s see your “notes”, your computer hard-drive, your intra-office memoranda to your law clerks, and your law clerk’s “Bench Memorandum” in “the moratorium” case). According to “the Lame Stream Media”, only Feldman’s 2008 financial holdings, part of 2009, and some very limited information about 2010 have been made public. For instance, for 2010, all the Public knows is that Feldman allegedly liquidated some Exxon holdings the day before or the morning of the hearing – I aver that the available record is NOT “crystal clear”. And if Feldman did what he claims to have done, namely put in a “sell” order by telephone to his broker, why only Exxon? Did he sell 100% of his Exxon position? What “other” oil and gas positions did he have on June 22 and 23, 2010, and why didn’t he sell those, as well? The “rule” of In Re City of Houston and In Re Placid Oil is really very “limited”: Recusal is not required in a case where the presiding Judge owns stock in “A COMPANY” in the same industry as one of the parties. Feldman’s pre-2oo8 oil and gas holdings were, by number, fairly extensive, although one looking at the Financial Disclosure Forms is required to speculate about the financial value. The records for 2009 are incomplete, and the 2010 information is virtually non-existent, except for what Feldman has told us about his Exxon stock. So show me the records, Marty, including the telephone records between you and your broker, and I’ll consider letting you “off-the-hook”. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  2. In 2008, despite long-held oil-industry investments, Judge Feldman agreed to hear the lawsuit, Save Our Wetlands v. Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District (Civil Action No. 08-2159). Save Our Wetlands, a non-profit environmental group, is an outspoken critic of Shell Oil Co. and Shell’s dominance over various public and private environmental entities. The group also advocates for the reclamation of wetlands that have been eroded by the many thousands of miles of canals and navigation channels that are used in service to the oil and gas industry in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes in Louisiana.

    For references and an additional point of view about Judge Feldman’s conflict of interest, see http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink</feldman2_box.htm.

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