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Misconduct Report: November 2014

Martin Feldman

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Martin Feldman
Martin L C Feldman.jpg
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #9
Station:   New Orleans, LA
Alternative court:   United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Alternative term:   5/19/2010-5/18/2017
Service:
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   10/5/1983-Present
Preceded by:   Jack Gordon
Personal History
Born:   1934
Hometown:   St. Louis, MO
Undergraduate:   Tulane University, 1955
Law School:   Tulane Law School, 1957
Military service:   U.S. Army, Reserves 1957-1963

Martin Leach-Cross Feldman is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He joined the court in 1983 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Feldman also serves on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. His term runs from May 19, 2010 until May 18, 2017.[1]

Education

Feldman graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana with his bachelor's degree in 1955 and his J.D. degree in 1957.[2]

Professional career

Judicial career

Eastern District of Louisiana

Feldman was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by President Ronald Reagan on September 9, 1983, to a seat vacated by Judge Jack Gordon. Feldman was confirmed by the Senate on October 4, 1983, and received commission on October 5, 1983.[2]

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Feldman also concurrently serves on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. He was appointed on May 19, 2010, and his term will end on May 18, 2017.[1]

Notable cases

Upholding of Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Jonathan P. Robicheaus, Et al. v. James D. Caldwell, Louisiana Attorney General, Et al., 13-5090)

Judge Martin Feldman was the presiding judge in the case of Robicheaux v. Caldwell. On September 3, 2014, Feldman ruled that Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional. The judge found that public opinion does not establish a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. He went on to dismiss the argument that the law violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. He stated:
Even ignoring the obvious difference between this case and Loving, no analogy can defeat the plain reality that Louisiana's laws apply evenhandedly to both genders--whether between two men or two women.[3][4]
Feldman drew heavily on tradition in his ruling, often referring to the definition of marriage as thousands of years old and the idea of same-sex marriage cannot be considered a fundamental right due to its relative newness. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.[5]

Deepwater drilling moratorium injunction (2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Hornbeck Offshore Services, LLC et al. v. Kenneth Lee Salazar et al., 10-1663)

Judge Feldman blocked a six-month moratorium that the Obama administration placed on new deep-water drilling projects in response to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Feldman ruled that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium, implying that disallowing all deep-water drilling was overzealous.[6]

The Department of the Interior immediately planned to appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit.[7] In October 2010, however, the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deep-water drilling.[8]

After the ruling by Feldman, his investments and stocks were analyzed, showing that in 2009 he held stocks of companies affected by his ruling. Judge Feldman insisted that he found out about these holdings on June 21 and contacted his broker to sell them on the morning of June 22. According to the The Wall Street Journal, "Under federal law, federal judges are prohibited from deciding cases in which they have financial interests in the parties or the outcome of the case. They are also prohibited from deciding cases in which there is the appearance of a conflict."[9] Because of the questions surrounding the status of his financial holdings, environmental groups asked that Feldman recuse himself from the case and suspend his ruling.[10][11]

Expressing continued frustration with the Obama Administrations reluctance to open up off shore drilling, Feldman ordered the Obama Administration to decide on five pending deep sea drilling permits within 30 days or be held in contempt of court. Feldman stated in his ruling, "The plaintiff's operations in the Gulf of Mexico are threatened with endless disability. As the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster draws near, any reason that would have justified delays has, under a rule of reason, expired."[12]

Clipper Estates case (2009)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Joffroin v. Tufaro, 606 F. 3d 235)

Judge Feldman dismissed a lawsuit filed by fifty people who lived in Clipper Estates in suburban New Orleans under allegations of violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The residents sued on allegations that the owner of Clipper Estates - also the President of the New Orleans Home Builders Association - used money he assessed against them after Hurricane Katrina for personal purposes instead of improving the subdivision as he promised. Feldman dismissed the lawsuit claiming the plaintiffs had no standing under RICO.[13]

Fifth Circuit Appeal

The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where judges Thomas Reavley, Edward Prado, and Priscilla Owen affirmed Feldman's decision. It was determined that the plaintiffs in the case did not have standing after applying the three-part test from Whalen v. Carter, 954 F.2d 1087, 1093 (5th Cir.1992).[14]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Jack Gordon
Eastern District of Louisiana
1983–Current
Seat #9
Succeeded by:
NA



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