View Full Version : Bush Nominee Broke Federal Laws

01-23-2006, 09:39 AM
Bush nominee broke federal laws


Published: January 22, 2006

A federal judge that President Bush nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court "apparently violated federal law repeatedly" by sitting on at least 18 cases involving corporations in which he owned stock, according to an article written by Will Evans for Salon.com, RAW STORY has learned.

In 2001, President Bush appointed Judge James H. Payne as a federal district judge in Oklahoma, then in late September to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Salon reports that "Payne has been sitting inappropriately on at least one case at any given moment for nearly his entire federal judgeship."

"I do not have time...I can't do it," was Payne's only response to Salon's multiple attempts to reach him for comment before hanging up.

Excerpts from Salon's Bush nominee broke law:


Payne's financial filings show holdings of up to $100,000 in SBC Communications stock, up to $50,000 in Wal-Mart stock and up to $15,000 in Pfizer stock, among others, while he presided over lawsuits involving the companies or their subsidiaries. In fact, it appears that since he was appointed by Bush in 2001 as a federal district judge in Oklahoma, Payne has been sitting inappropriately on at least one case at any given moment for nearly his entire federal judgeship.


Payne's track record illuminates how conflict-ridden cases can slide through the cracks of a system that relies primarily on judges to regulate themselves. The financial disclosure forms that Payne signs and submits each year show a consistent core group of stocks year after year, including those in his most recent filing last September. Since 1999 (as far back as his filings are publicly available), court records show Payne participated in cases involving SBC, Tricon Global Restaurants, Pfizer, Williams Cos. and Wal-Mart while reporting stock holdings in those companies. Some of the lawsuits explicitly name the corporations, while others name subsidiaries, like Taco Bell and KFC (owned by Tricon) or Williams Oil Gathering (owned by the Williams natural-gas giant).

In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Congress passed a law in 1974 during an era of reform that made the rule for recusals unequivocal: Judges should monitor their finances and must disqualify themselves if they, their spouses or their children have a financial interest in the case -- "however small."