Financial disclosure statements and Senate confirmation questionnaires from federal judicial nominees put forward by President Bush reveal strong ties to the energy industry, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that has posted the material online, marking the first time that it has been made readily accessible to the public. CIR concluded from the data that:
more than a third of President Bushs nominees to the federal district courts 21 of 59 nominations since 2001 have a history of working as lawyers and lobbyists on behalf of the oil, gas and energy industries. Twenty of the 21 have been nominated to the Appellate Courts in the 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and District of Columbia circuits where those same industries frequently battle over cases with huge financial interests at stake. These five circuit courts are at the forefront of establishing judicial precedent on matters involving conflicts over natural resources. The placement of the nominees suggests an administration strategy of nominating corporate friendly judges in circuits where they will make the greatest impact. In many cases, these same corporations and industries are also major campaign contributors to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party.The results of CIR's investigation, including nominees' disclosure statements, are available at the website Courting Influence. Judicial nominations have become a center of controversy after many of President Bush's nominations have been filibustered by the Senate. JURIST's Paper Chase has ongoing coverage of federal judicial nominations.