Federal judges will reportedly face stiffer stock-trading rules under proposed bipartisan bills

John Cornyn
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in March. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
  • US judges face tighter stock-trading rules under proposed legislation in Washington, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
  • The proposals include requiring judges to report stock trades of more than $US1,000 ($AU1,335) within 45 days.
  • The bills follow a WSJ investigation showing judges violated laws related to stock holding while hearing court cases.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers will introduce legislation aimed at tightening rules on stock trading for federal judges, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two bills drafted by lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives would require US judges to report stock trades of more than $US1,000 ($AU1,335) within 45 days and to post their financial-disclosure forms online, congressional aides told the newspaper.

The proposed laws follow an investigation by The Wall Street Journal that found more than 130 federal judges have violated law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which they or their family-owned stock.

The report published in late September said judges failed to recuse themselves from 685 cases since 2010.

“This legislation would subject federal judges to the same disclosure requirements of other federal officials so we can be sure litigants are protected from conflicts of interest and cases are decided fairly,” Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, was quoted as saying about the Senate version of the stock-trading reporting bill called Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act.

Lawmakers also seek to increase reporting requirements for judges who trade stocks frequently.

The proposed legislation comes after the Federal Reserve said last week it will ban policymakers from buying individual stocks, making that move following controversial equity holdings by two regional presidents who have already stepped down.