Judge who blocked access to abortion pill has unusual redaction in financial disclosure forms

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Judge Kacsmaryk headshot

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas. Photo from the Northern District of Texas website.

A Texas federal judge who blocked access to the abortion drug mifepristone did not disclose certain information about the millions of dollars in stock that he owns when he filled out financial disclosure forms for 2020 and 2021.

U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas did disclose that he owns between $5 million and $25 million in stock in a company but did not disclose which company it is, report CNN (via How Appealing and Original Jurisdiction) and the Washington Post. The name of the company is blacked out on the forms.

The “unusual move” by Kacsmaryk “conceals the bulk of his personal fortune,” according to CNN.

Federal judges are allowed to withhold information on financial disclosure forms if it could endanger the judge or a family member, the articles report.

It’s possible that the redacted information refers to the Florida supermarket company Publix, where Kacsmaryk’s grandmother had worked, according to a May 2017 obituary cited by CNN and the Washington Post.

Kacsmaryk had disclosed that he owned Publix stock on a 2017 disclosure form when he was a judicial nominee. His 2020 disclosure form said the unnamed stock was previously held in a trust for Kacsmaryk, but the judge now owns it personally after dissolution of the trust, according to CNN. Only Publix employees and board members can buy the stock, which is not publicly traded.

Kacsmaryk told CNN in a statement the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts “approved the redaction after reviewing the relevant rules and applicable threats.”

Kacsmaryk said the company is a private corporation that operates outside Texas and the jurisdiction overseen by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans, which hears appeals from Kacsmaryk’s district court.

Kacsmaryk said the clerk’s office has the name of the company. The clerk’s office “actively screens incoming cases, and I would be automatically recused from any cases involving this entity,” he said.

Kacsmaryk had blocked all access to mifepristone earlier this month on the ground that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not properly take safety concerns into account when it approved the drug. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed that order Friday.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge in abortion pill case substituted other names on controversial article before nomination to bench”

ABAJournal.com: “Justice Alito keeps full access to mifepristone in place pending briefing next week”

ABAJournal.com: “Why the 5th Circuit is allowing abortion pill sales but pausing expanded access to the drug”

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