Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth released this statement following the release of the “Law on the Markets” report that demonstrated how Supreme Court decisions impacted the market by $140 billion over the last 15 years:
Earlier this year we called on the justices of the Supreme Court to place their individual stocks into blind trusts in order to avoid the appearance of favoring, via their decisions, the publicly traded companies whose shares they own.
Now that a direct correlation between the court’s decisions and the market value of certain securities has been proven, the need for the justices to take steps to remove the appearance of impropriety regarding their financial interests is all the more urgent.
According to the most recently available financial disclosure data, only three justices – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito – own individual shares of public companies. But these three over the last six years have voted with their stock holdings nearly 70 percent of the time those companies filed a “friend of the court” brief urging the justices rule in a certain way.
That’s much more often than the coin flip one would expect. And now we know that, financially, these decisions amount to much more – or about $10 billion per year more – than a drop in the bucket, our nation’s most powerful, least accountable institution should take concrete steps ahead of the new term to ensure their decisions are not so clearly and directly impacting the value of their brokerage accounts.