Today, Tuesday 12th October 2010, a case involving a child who has been vaccine damaged is being heard at the Supreme Court USA. This high profile case has the potential to change the law surrounding cases that involve vaccine injuries. However, already there is controversy surrounding this case. The reason is because Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. recently sold his shares in the company Pfizer, worth $15,000 or more, enabling him to participate.
If this was the first time Roberts had done this, I guess that he could be excused to some degree, but this guy seems to make a habit of selling shares to suit. According to a report on Kentucky.com (http://www.kentucky.com/2010/…), this was not the first time that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr has decided to sell stocks to enable him to take part in a case.
The reason that he does this according to Kentucky.com, is because there are nine judges who can sit on a case. If two of these sit out then this would give the case seven. If this occurred it could give an undesirable verdict, for example a 4-3 majority win. With an even number of judges, a hung decision of 4-4 becomes more of a possibility.
Let’s face it, having a hung decision is more preferable in a high profile case, especially the one sitting today.
Bearing in mind that the Wall Street Journal had stated (http://online.wsj.com/article…) that Elena Kagen had recused herself because she had previously been involved in the case; she served as U.S. solicitor general. Roberts, who originally had said that he was not sitting, would need to sit to benefit the court. Thus giving them a higher prospect of a hung decision. Is this the true reason behind Roberts selling his shares? I guess we will never know for certain but it is certainly a strong possibility. Kentucky.com says:
“Having one justice out of a case sets up the undesirable possibility of the rest of the court dividing 4-4. In such cases, the lower court ruling stands, but the Supreme Court sets no precedent to guide lower courts. In essence, it’s a waste of time for the court to have considered the case. Even a 4-4 outcome, however, is preferable to the prospect of a 4-3 decision, which could result if two justices don’t take part in a case. In that instance, less than a majority of the nine-member court could render an important decision. On at least one other occasion, Roberts sold stock to avoid having a seven-justice court hear a case.”
The law surrounding cases that involve a pharmaceutical company, where a judge has a single stock in any of the parties of the lawsuit, requires the judge to sit out. To enable Judge Roberts to participate in two forthcoming cases which involve the manufacturer Pfizer, he would first need to sell his shares in the company. According to Smart Trend News (http://lawyers-law.com/chief-justice-john-roberts…) covering the story, Roberts sold his Pfizer shares in August. This is what they announced in September:
“Chief Justice John Roberts sold his shares of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) in a move that allows him to participate in two pending Supreme Court cases that involve the pharmaceutical maker. Federal law requires judges to sit out on cases if they own as little as a single share of stock in any of the parties of the lawsuit. When the court announced on Tuesday that it has accepted an appeal from several drug companies, including Pfizer, in a dispute over prices charged to public hospitals, there was no indication that Roberts would step aside from the case. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg confirmed that the chief justice sold his shares in August. As a result, he will sit with his colleagues when they hear arguments October 12 in another case involving childhood vaccines.”
Going back to the laws surrounding cases involving pharmaceutical companies, The federal law as I previously stated says the following: “Federal law requires judges to sit out on cases if they own as little as a single share of stock in any of the parties of the lawsuit.” In 2005 in a case involving Merck, the New York Times (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/…) said the following:
“The Supreme Court said on Monday that it had rejected Merck & Company’s appeal of a ruling that the patent on Fosamax, a blockbuster once-weekly osteoporosis drug, would expire a decade earlier than expected.”
The intriguing thing about this case is on this occasion Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. DID sit out because it appears that he owned stock in Merck. The New York Times said:
“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G. Breyer did not take part in the case. That typically happens when a justice owns a company’s stock.”
This indicates that Roberts owned stocks in Merck, proving that the justice system is completely corrupt. From the above we can see that judges obviously can pick and choose which cases they are involved in. Just because Roberts decided to sell his stocks does not automatically erase all his conflicts of interest. If any person has shares with any company, it is common sense to assume that they would automatically have a vested interest otherwise they would not have bought shares in the first place. Therefore an automatic conflict of interest exists. Here is a list of the members of the Supreme Court In Washington D.C which I obtained from the Supreme Court USA website (http://www.supremecourt.gov/about…):
Chief Justice of the United States JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR.
Associate Justices ANTONIN SCALIA ANTHONY M. KENNEDY CLARENCE THOMAS RUTH BADER GINSBURG STEPHEN G. BREYER SAMUEL A. ALITO, JR. SONIA SOTOMAYOR ELENA KAGAN
Retired Justices SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR DAVID H. SOUTER JOHN PAUL STEVENS
It has been established that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr has or had stocks in what appears to be two major pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer. The New York Times in 2005 has said that it was possible that Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G Breyer also had stocks in Merck. How many on the above list also have links and financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry? This is proof that our justice system has many ties and links to the pharmaceutical industries. Dumping shares does not make a judge impartial. It also does not eliminate the distinct possibility that as soon as the case is over that the same judge will not reinvest. Is this a fair and impartial justice system? No, it most certainly is not! It is corrupt through and through and it is totally unfair on the public who rely on the justice system to make honest impartial decisions.