Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth released the following statement on Justice Stephen Breyer’s non-recusal in Wednesday’s FERC case:
Breyer’s oversight shows that the justices’ current system of self-checking for conflicts isn’t working. The three who hold shares of publically traded companies – Breyer, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts – should instead place their securities in blind trusts for the duration of their tenure on the court – and should generally be more vigilant about potential conflicts.
As the FERC case was argued, Breyer and Alito owned the same stock. But the fact that only one of them realized the conflict and recused demonstrates the lack of communications among the justices on core ethical issues and cries out for a solution like divestment or blind trusts.