Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Supreme Court Justice Hears Case Unaware of Stock Conflict

  • Breyer's wife sells company stock after reporter inquires
  • Alito's Johnson Controls stake may decide fate of energy rule
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer pauses while testifying during a Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee meeting in Washington on March 23, 2015.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer pauses while testifying during a Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee meeting in Washington on March 23, 2015.

Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

A seat was empty Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case with important ramifications for the power industry. Justice Samuel Alito didn’t take part, apparently because he or his wife owns stock in Johnson Controls Inc., whose EnergyConnect subsidiary is a party in the case.

Six chairs over, Justice Stephen Breyer was hearing the case unaware that he had the same issue because his wife also owned Johnson Controls. She sold her 750 shares for about $33,000 the following day, only after a Bloomberg reporter inquired.