Chief Justice John Roberts Takes Aim At Ethics

John Roberts

After revelations by a Wall Street Journal investigation that over a hundred Federal Judges had financial conflicts in cases they made rulings on – a violation of a 1974 law prohibiting such conduct.

The WSJ investigation analyzed cases and stock holdings by Judges to discover irregularities, and they found them to be almost everywhere.

The Journal found judges failing to disqualify themselves as required in every region of the country. They included judges appointed by nearly every president from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump.

Wall Street Journal

But were these conflicts significant to the outcomes? The Journal continues:

When there were contested motions in cases involving companies the judges had a financial stake in, two out of three of their rulings on the motions were in favor of those companies.

Justice addressed these issues exposed by the WSJ:

“Let me be crystal clear: the Judiciary takes this matter seriously. We expect judges to adhere to the highest standards, and those judges violated an rule,” the chief justice said in his year-end report, which traditionally is published on Dec. 31 and includes statistics regarding the federal courts’ caseload.

Chief Justice Roberts called for improving computer systems that check for conflicts based on stock ownership. “They need to be refined to ensure that different ways of spelling or listing the same stock holding—such as by company name, subsidiary, or ticker symbol—are picked up by automated checks regardless of how they are identified by a litigant or judge,” he wrote, adding that doing so “may require additional funding from Congress, but it will be money well spent.”

Wall Street Journal