Gavel Grab

Bloomberg Report Puts Spotlight on Assets, Judicial Recusal

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer participated in hearing this week a case while unaware that his wife holds stock in Johnson Controls Inc., which has a subsidiary that was a party to the case, Bloomberg Politics reported. The news outlet said his wife sold those shares the following day following an inquiry by a Bloomberg reporter.

Johnson Controls was not a party to the case. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the case, “apparently because he or his wife owns stock in Johnson Controls Inc.,” Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg said it was not an isolated case: “The case is the latest example of a recurring phenomenon: a Supreme Court fight proceeding under a cloud because of judicial stock holdings. Recusals and last-minute stock sales are fueling calls for the justices to shift into investments less likely to pose a conflict of interest, while underscoring the complications that can arise in a system that gives the justices broad discretion to decide when to step aside.”


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