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.
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.
A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!
Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.
Slave! I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.