California’s Oily Justices « The Washington Independent
Former employee Braxton Berkley was one of hundreds to sue Lockheed Martin and other chemical supply companies—some of which are among the world’s largest oil companies—for injuries resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals. Berkley, who says the injuries resulted from his work on military planes, appealed his case to the California Supreme Court. But the case was dismissed.
Why? Four out of seven justices held stock in some of those oil companies, and therefore couldn’t rule on the case.
This NYTimes editorial sums it up best:
It’s a crazy — and unacceptable — way to run a court. The justices should be required to put their financial holdings in a blind trust. Instead, California requires judges to follow their investments so they can recuse themselves in cases where there is a conflict.