Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a controversial Trump–appointed judge, has made headlines yet again – this time for redacting key information on his legally mandated financial disclosures.
Kacsmaryk, who has issued sweeping rulings and nationwide injunctions on issues such as immigration and protections for LGBTQ workers, wrote in his 2020 and 2021 annual disclosures that he held between $5 million and $25 million in “common stock” of a company. The name of the company he held stock in is redacted, despite the fact that federal law only allows redactions of information that could “endanger” a judge or their family member.
CNN obtained a previous disclosure from 2017, when Kacsmaryk was a judicial nominee, revealing that he reported owning about $2.9 million in stock in the Florida–based supermarket company Publix. It’s not clear whether that’s the same holding as the redacted stock, as Publix’s share price had significantly increased by 2020 and 2021 and the company is no longer listed on Kacsmaryk’s more recent disclosures.
The redacted holding accounted for at least 85% of Kacsmaryk’s total reported wealth in 2021, and potentially more.
Kacsmaryk said the “Administrative Office of the United States Courts approved the redaction after reviewing the relevant rules and applicable threats.”
“It is a private corporation headquartered and operated outside of Texas, outside the Fifth Circuit. It has never been a party in any case in the Northern District of Texas,” Kacsmaryk wrote of the company he holds stock in.
However, legal experts have noted that this redaction is an unusual move and could be seen as hiding a potential conflict of interest. Michael Lissner, the executive director of the Free Law Project, said that “the public deserves to know” if Kacsmaryk is hiding something.
This is not the first time that Kacsmaryk has been accused of not being fully transparent. CNN reported Thursday that Kacsmaryk failed to disclose during his Senate confirmation process two interviews in which he discussed contraception and gay rights, and The Washington Post reported last week that Kacsmaryk removed his name in 2017 from a pending law review article criticizing protections for transgender people and those seeking abortions as he was being nominated.
It is clear that Kacsmaryk’s redaction of his financial disclosure is yet another example of the controversial judge’s lack of transparency. The public deserves to know if Kacsmaryk is hiding a potential conflict of interest, and the Judicial Conference should investigate his financial disclosure in order to ensure that justice is served.