I think this judge was right on the line of a conflict of interest.
" WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The U.S. federal judge who struck down the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling sold stock in Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on the same day he issued his ruling, according to documents released Friday.
Exxon Mobil was among the companies affected by the administration’s moratorium. It used a rig whose operations were suspended under the ban, according to Exxon spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman White.
The judge in the moratorium case, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, says he only learned of his holdings in Exxon Mobil on Monday, the day before he issued his ruling.
“Because he remembered that Exxon, who was not a party litigant in the moratorium case, nevertheless had one of the 33 rigs in the Gulf, the judge instructed his broker to sell Exxon and XTO [Energy Inc.] as soon as the market opened the next morning,” according to a statement released by the judge’s chambers.
The judge said in a Wednesday letter that he sold his shares in Exxon Mobil before the stock market opened Tuesday, “prior to the opening of a court hearing on the spill moratorium case.” The letter was released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on Friday.
According to federal law, federal judges are required to step aside from cases that present financial conflicts or cases in which the judge’s impartiality might be questioned. "