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"IS THE BP CLAIMS PROCESS BEING HIJACKED BY FRIENDS OF BIG OIL"
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"IS THE BP CLAIMS PROCESS BEING HIJACKED BY FRIENDS OF BIG OIL"

On Thursday morning, January 16, I was sent a link to an article written by James Gill of The Advocate in Baton Rouge.
The article was on Judge Edith Clement, who is the 5th Circuit Judge that originally sided with BP, and will hear more of BP's appeals in the very near future.

The article points out that there may be a good reason that this judge, who seems to be very friendly to BP with her written opinions, is making the decisions that greatly benefit BP, and not the people that were financially harmed by the worst man-made disaster in U.S. history.

The article points out that Judge Clement has for years been a board member one of the most active front organizations, for Big Oil and Energy. She is a board member of The Foundation for Research into Economics and the Environment (a.k.a. FREE). This organization seems to be very pro big oil, as its chairperson, John Baden, is a past member of the National Petroleum Council.

As the article points out, Judge Clement's picture is on the website, she is a board member. This group is funded by Big Oil and takes luxurious junkets yearly, one of the last ones being to Montana, it was estimated by an independent group that the cost per individual of that trip was 10,000 dollars a head. It is not clear where all of the funding for this group comes from but it is clear that, at least in part, it is funded by big oil. One of the major financial contributors is Exxon/Mobil.

Apparently sometime in 2005, Judge Andre M. Davis was a board member of this same group and someone filed a formal complaint citing the obvious conflict of interest. Judge Davis requested an opinion from the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United Stated District Court. Their opinion was issued on March 30, 2005 and it clearly explained that the honorable judge was violating several rules by being on the board of FREE. In a nut shell, the opinion was that the judge's service on the board of this group calls into question the judge's partiality on certain issues. Since the group is funded in part by "Big Oil" who would you think the judge would favor in a court case?

The article goes on to explain that Douglas Kendall, the President of the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, DC, wrote to Clement pointing out the Judicial Conference of the United States had ruled that joining FREE's board was against its code of conduct, she did not respond. Click here to read the letter to Judge Clement dated December 9, 2010.

She is still a member to this day and you can see a picture of her here, she is on the Board of DirectorsJUDGE EDITH CLEMENT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES AND BP STOCK


If you look at Judge Clements 2011 financial disclosures here is a l link to them you will see how vested she is an energy stocks, specifically Vanguard which is as I understand is one of the largest stockholders of BP stock in the United States. Please understand, I am not saying any of the Vanguard mutual funds she owns has BP Stock in them, but should'nt this and her relationship with FREE at the very least be looked into.

Top Mutual Fund Holders of BP Stock according to Yahoo Finance.

Franklin Custodian Funds-Income Fund
Vanguard/Wellington Fund Inc.
Vanguard/Windsor II 15,549,869
Vanguard Specialized-Energy Fund
DFA International Value Series
American Mutual Fund Inc
Invesco Comstock Fd 4,826,424
American Beacon Large Cap Value Fd
Hartford Capital Appreciation Fund
Vanguard/Windsor Fund Inc

Why does this matter?

In the judicial system of the United States, judges are required to recuse themselves (remove themselves from participating in a case), not only when they are biased, but even when they may appear biased to a neutral observer. This appearance-based recusal standard is intended to ensure the judge's impartiality in resolving disputes, to protect the judiciary's reputation, and to instill public confidence in the fairness of the courts.

Just a side note here, George Busch appointed her, we know who he stands with, and that is Big Oil. Judge Clement also owned BP stock as late as 2009.

At this point, it appears many are questioning the impartiality of Judge Clement with regard to the BP case.

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