Syracuse Legal Blog

Misinformed Consent is No Consent at All

Judicial Politics Adds To BP Oil Sleaze

Scales of a Balanced Justice

On June 22, 2010, “U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, overturned the Obama Administration’s Moratorium on Deep-Water Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (1)    The Louisiana judge has several Energy Holdings and has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports. (2).    According to CBS “Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure report – the most recent available – also showed investments in Ocean Energy, a Houston-based company, as well as Quicksilver Resources, Prospect Energy, Peabody Energy, Halliburton, Pengrowth Energy Trust, Atlas Energy Resources, Parker Drilling and others. Halliburton was also involved in the doomed Deepwater Horizon project.” (2).

Northeastern University law professor Tim Howard told a CBS reporter “There’s been some concern that he is biased toward the industry, but I don’t see it in this opinion.” Howard explained, “They [gov’t officials] overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are.” (1).

CBS News Reported , “in 2008 Judge Martin Feldman owned stock in Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. (2).    In his ruling, Feldman concluded the moratorium was “overly broad” because no one “yet fully knows” why the BP accident happened and, therefore, there is no reason to believe other new Deep Water wells “universally present an imminent danger.” (1).

CBS reports “the Interior Department says it halted new permits for deepwater projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells to protect the Gulf of Mexico from another environmental disaster while it studies the risks of deepwater drilling. The Department said the moratorium was necessary while it studied deepwater drilling risks in the wake of the BP oil spill.” (1).

Former Oil Industry Executive Bob Cavnar was incredulous that the court ended the moratorium because, he said, all of the Gulf Deep Water rigs “use the exact same blowout preventers that were used on the Deepwater Horizon that failed so tragically. And nobody can tell you why that BOP failed. So, going back and doing the same thing, to me is just crazy.”  (3). This directly and completely contradicts the claims made by Louisiana U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who fraudulent stated that the basis for his decision was the “fact” (bogus claim) that there was no well-grounded reason to believe other new Deep Water wells “universally present an imminent danger.” Cavnar said lifting the moratorium was “just crazy” because “they have every asset they have deployed now trying to collect this oil. If something else goes wrong, it`s a gigantic catastrophe that we have nothing to mitigate with.”  (3). Cavnar said that the only safe and prudent thing for the government to do in this circumstance is to immediately impose a moratorium until all these critical relevant facts are known and the industry can substantiate confident assurances of safety and an effective, rapid response plan.  (3).

When we talk about the “Toxicity Level” in American ‘Politics’ today, this is one bitterly ironic example of it, as it clearly reaches deep into the Judicial Branch of government, a branch which takes an oath NOT to allow itself to become ‘political’ — a branch which by its very definition cannot function as constitutionally required once it has become politicized. “Bitter irony,” because the political ‘Toxins’ that for decades have been inching their way into the fabric of society and government, poisoning regulators, legislators and judges, is so graphically akin to the BP corporate tarball sludge and slime that keeps seeping its way into the coastlines, the wetlands, the byways and waterways, poisoning all the Life in its path in an incredibly hideous, painful, torturous way. And like the BP oil sludge, no one seems to be able to halt the militant goose-step march of this carcinogenic blight called “American Politics as Usual.”

I may not be able to stop the corporate or political or petroleum slime from overtaking this country, but I intend to stay in the fight till the ammo’s gone and I will go down swinging. I am determined to inject the Truth of the matter as far into the artery of this malignant parasite as strength will allow — confident in the certainty that the Truth CAN kill it, just as certainly as fraud and dishonesty gave it birth.

I wrote a CBS News response to Feldman’s fraudulent, flim-flam “here is what ‘bought off’ looks like” judicial decision. What poetic justice it would be to see this ‘Sweetheart Mama’ go viral and level the playing field just a bit, in Justice’s favor.


Judge Feldman’s ‘oil investments’ bias is evident in his ruling which has no legal, logical or factual basis whatsoever. Feldman declared the moratorium “overly broad.” Tim Howard (NWU Legal Prof), made this ludicrous statement in referring to the government’s moratorium: “They (Obama Administration) overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are.” This conclusively establishes Howard and Feldman as both factually ‘clueless’ and cerebrally short-handed. Regardless of whether anyone yet “fully knows why” this BP accident occurred, we know all we have to know to warrant a moratorium.

There is absolutely no one in the World or in the Oil Industry who knows how to stop this leak, precisely because it happened in “deep water.” Every expert has stated ad nauseam, there is no precedent for it, in such ‘deep water’ — to serve as an instructive guide for how to stop the leak. For Feldman’s & Howard’s edification, that is sufficient to establish the gov’t was “focusing on where the problems are.” And that focus was sufficiently narrow to exclude all drilling that was NOT in “Deep Water.” In “Deep Water Drilling” situations these Oil Industry dolts are clueless and can NOT give reasonable ‘honest’ environmental safety assurances.

Judge Feldman has corrupted himself and the judicial process because he should have recused himself . . . and he surely must have known he should have recused himself. It is the sworn duty of judges to avoid “even the appearance” of bias and prejudice and it is their duty to err on the side of caution so the integrity of the judicial process is not brought into question.

Because Judge Feldman refused to do this, this decision is tainted with evidence that the ‘political’ (business interest) decision he rendered has absolutely no legitimate factual or legal basis in this biased pro-oil ruling, precisely because it is NOT based on the law or the facts, but on a predisposition Feldman had to advance his political prejudices and business interests.

As for the so-call “law professor” (Tim Howard) who stated he did not see any “bias” in Feldman’s decision, he has conclusively certified that either his prejudices eclipse his objectivity and perceptual acumen, or he simply never had those qualities to begin with. The political and business self-interest “bias” in this decision is the only thing that these fraudulent premises trace back to.

By Feldman’s reckoning, police would never be able to detain someone on “reasonable suspicion” grounds nor would they ever be able to arrest anyone on “probable cause” grounds, simply because they do not possess ‘conclusive’ (dead certain) proof to support such action. Any Compelling, Convincing, Credible, Persuasive, Obvious evidence, like that which supports the Obama Moratorium, would be deemed “insufficient” under Feldman’s ‘biased’ rationale.


When I grit my teeth and come to a ‘rapid boil’ at the thought of Judge Feldman’s molestation of reality and the law, a Mark Twain quote comes to mind which, if I share it here, might help others like me cope with the reality that honesty in business, politics and government is a rare and very precious thing. Here is a Judge Feldman portrait by Mark Twain:

You take the lies out of him, and he’ll shrink to the size of your hat; you take the malice out of him, and he’ll disappear.” ~~Mark Twain~~


How did this country become so thoroughly and hopelessly corrupted?

A Tim Russert Kind of Answer:        Politics . . . Politics . . . Politics . . .

 

Footnote 1 Link: “Appeals Court Nixes Drilling Moratorium” — CBS News Report — New Orleans, July 8, 2010
 

Footnote 2 Link: “Judge Who Tossed Drilling Ban an Oil Investor” — CBS News Report — New Orleans, June 23, 2010
 

Footnote 3 Link: “What happens if the leak continues?” — MSNBC News Report — June 22, 2010
 

(See also, “27,000 Abandoned Gulf Oil Wells May Be Leaking” and “American Politics at Toxic Levels“).

 

The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


 


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