I thought it might be useful, as a public service, to link each United States Supreme Court Justice’s 2006 Financial Disclosure Forms (filed on May 15, 2007), for each Justice reporting pharmaceutical, or med-tech or biotech or other FDA-regulated company holdings. In a few days, the 2007 reports (circa May 15, 2008 — this Thursday) will be available online, and I will link those as well, right here. This post was inspired by a great discussion now underway at Pharmalot. See the comments there.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 2006 Form (PDF-file) — Merck (less than $15,000); Pfizer ($15,000 to $50,000) — Signed May 15, 2007.
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: 2006 Form (PDF-file) — Bristol Meyer Squibb (less than $15,000) — Signed May 11, 2007.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer1: 2006 Form (PDF-file) — Schering-Plough ($50,000 to $100,000) ; Amgen ($15,000 to $50,000); Quest Diagonostics ($15,000 to $50,000); Teva Pharmaceuticals ($15,000 to $50,000); Nestle, SA ($15,000 to $50,000) Novartis AG ADRs ($15,000 to $50,000); Procter & Gamble ($50,000 to $100,000); Colgate-Palmolive ($15,000 to $50,000); and Point Therapeutics (less than $15,000) — Signed May 10, 2007.
Note that Procter & Gamble, and Colgate-Palmolive each sell some drugs, or products making human-health claims, OTC (which is technically FTC-land, but would benefit, derivatively, from the certainty). Also I’ll note that Nestle SA, I believe, still owns some clinical nutrition businesses [confirmed — see link].
Someone please correct me, if I am wrong about that.
Now, at no small risk of appearing intemperate, here — I might respectfully suggest that Justice Breyer’s close-to-$300,000 invested, in the aggregate (if we assume something a little south of the mid-point in value, for each investment), might give the average American a bit of pause, in considering whether he ought to think about recusing himself — that is a lot of scratch.
However, as the 2006 Form notes, Justice Breyer’s overall net worth is much larger than most Americans (disclosing, at May 10, 2007, at least three other investments in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 range (TIAA-CREF, a US Treasury obligation, and some funds) and many, many others in the $50,000 to $100,000 value-range), so perhaps, the $300,000 or so, in FDA-regulated entities is entirely inconsequential to his overall ability to fairly consider the case on the merits. I guess the question may become whether he is concerned at all about even the mere “appearance” of some financial interest in the outcome.
We might note — famously (or notoriously, perhaps), that Dick Cheney’s occasional hunting partner (not on that trip!), Justice Antonin Scalia, felt no need to recuse himself earlier this decade (in cases involving the propriety of the Vice President’s actions) — so, perhaps this is all naught, but a tempest in a teapot for such learned, and able, jurists.
I’ll add to these, as I make my way through each of them.
As ever, though — take a look for yourself — and decide, for yourself, what you think.
FOOTNOTE 1: Wild! — Justice Breyer did not recuse himself in the Medtronic case — on FDA device preemption, decided February 20, 2008:
“. . .Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Breyer, and Alito, JJ., joined, and in which Stevens, J., joined except for Parts III–A and III–B. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Ginsburg, J., filed a dissenting opinion. . . .”