The (small) mystery of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s stocks has been solved (2024)

A Texas federal judge who was concealing the type of stock that he owned from public view has now made that information public — writing that he owns at least $5 million in stock from the supermarket chain Publix, where his grandmother worked for more than 25 years.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who gained national attention after he suspended federal approval of a key abortion drug, told The Washington Post last year that the stock redaction was approved by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts “after reviewing the relevant rules and applicable threats.”

Kacsmaryk is an antiabortion advocate whose 2023 ruling would have removed mifepristone, a medication that is part of a two-drug regimen used to terminate pregnancies in the early stages, from the market. Such medication abortions make up more than 60 percent of all pregnancy terminations in the United States.

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The conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit scaled back his ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court will decide by late June or early July whether to reimpose some restrictions on mifepristone access or leave the current rules in place.

Kacsmaryk’s decision last year to shield information about which stocks he owned came at a time of heightened scrutiny surrounding what members of the federal judiciary, notably Supreme Court justices, can report or omit from their annual disclosure forms.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was facing criticism for not reporting years of luxury vacations, private jet travel and real estate deals he accepted from longtime friend and benefactor Harlan Crow, a Dallas billionaire. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. has faced scrutiny for not reporting a free trip to a fishing resort in Alaska in 2008.

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Top officials from all three branches of government, including federal judges and Supreme Court justices, are required to file annual forms detailing their finances, gifts, outside income and spouses’ sources of income. The Judicial Conference’s Committee on Financial Disclosures, which is made up of 16 federal judges, reviews and approves redaction requests. Judges must renew requests for redactions each year.

According to federal ethics law, a report may be redacted “to prevent public disclosure of personal or sensitive information that could directly or indirectly endanger the filer or a filer’s family member if obtained by a member of the public hostile to the filer or a filer’s family member.”

A spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the Courts, which is overseen by the Judicial Conference, declined to discuss the change in Kacsmaryk’s disclosure form, and the judge’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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But a person familiar with the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss information that has not been made public, said Kacsmaryk requested the redaction to shield identifying information from public view. That information has since been removed, the person said.

Publix is now listed on the disclosure forms for each year that Kacsmaryk has been a judge: 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Public officials are not required to say how or from whom they inherited the stocks listed on their disclosure forms. Kacsmaryk’s paternal grandmother, Mary Lacek Kacsmaryk, who joined Publix early in its history, worked for the Florida-based supermarket chain for more than 25 years, according to her obituary. The supermarket chain has an employee stock purchase plan in which associates can buy shares of Publix stock after one full year of employment, according to the company’s website.

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“Anyone who knew Mary K, as she was known at Publix, knew her passion and pride for being a Publix team member,” the May 2017 obituary says.

Federal ethics law lists certain types of information that could be redacted if it would endanger the filer or the filer’s family member, including the names of their spouses’ employers, but notes that “it would be unusual for a request for the redaction of the identity of a stock or other security to be granted.”

Kacsmaryk told lawyers involved in the mifepristone case last spring that his chamber had received a “barrage of death threats” and harassing voice mails since the start of the case. A Florida woman was charged last year with calling his chambers in Amarillo, Tex., and threatening to murder him.

Gabe Roth, executive director of the transparency group Fix the Court, questioned whether the name of the supermarket chain could have been made public in earlier versions of Kacsmaryk’s reports. Roth noted that the judge’s ties to Publix have been widely known and that it was important to list the stock publicly in the event that a case involving the supermarket chain came before him.

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“Of course there needs to be a balance between disclosure and redaction, especially with political violence on the rise,” Roth said. “But deploying the judiciary’s redaction authority to black out an investment that’s clearly a major conflict is a misuse of that authority.”

Kacsmaryk has been criticized in the past for not being transparent.

The Post reported last spring that the judge, who has struck down two Biden administration protections for transgender people, did not disclose during his Senate confirmation hearings that he was involved in writing a Texas law review article that criticized Obama-era protections for transgender people and those receiving abortions.

He also took unusual steps last year to keep the timing of a hearing in the mifepristone case from the public until the last minute, hoping to minimize disruptions and public protests.

Ann E. Marimow and Aaron Schaffer contributed to this report.

The (small) mystery of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s stocks has been solved (2024)

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The (small) mystery of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s stocks has been solved? ›

The (small) mystery of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's stocks has been solved. Newly unredacted disclosure forms show the judge owns at least $5 million in stock from the supermarket chain Publix, where his grandmother worked for decades.

Who is the federal judge in Texas Matthew Kacsmaryk? ›

Matthew Joseph Kacsmaryk (/kæsˈmærɪk/; born 1977) is a United States district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He was nominated to the position by President Donald Trump in 2017 and sworn in for the position in 2019.

Who appoints federal judges and for what terms? ›

Federal judges (and Supreme Court “justices”) are selected by the President and confirmed “with the advice and consent” of the Senate and “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior.” Judges may hold their position for the rest of their lives, but many resign or retire earlier.

Who is the judge in Amarillo Texas? ›

Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk | Northern District of Texas | United States District Court.

How much does a federal judge make in Texas? ›

Federal Judge Salary in Houston, TX. $41,676 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $101,282 is the 75th percentile.

Who is the judge on Texas justice? ›

Texas Justice
StarringLarry Joe Doherty (judge), William M. Bowers Jr. (bailiff)
Narrated byRandy Schell
Theme music composerScott Szabo
Country of originUnited States
12 more rows

Do federal judges have a boss? ›

There is no “boss” as such, besides administrative matters. Salaries are set by statute of the jurisdiction, and are paid by the taxpayers.

What is the retirement salary for a federal judge? ›

Under section 371, a judge who meets the Rule of 80, if he chooses to fully retire (“retire from the office”), “shall, during the remainder of his lifetime, receive an annuity equal to the salary he was receiving at the time he retired.” (For 2023, the salary for appellate judges is $246,600 and for district judges is ...

How do you address a retired judge? ›

Whether walking into a local restaurant or attending a community event, former judges will continue to be addressed as “judge.” Judges will be hired for jobs not only for their judicial experience, but also for the positive “label” that having a former judge on payroll will bring.

Who is the female judge in Texas? ›

Judge Lina Hidalgo is the head of Harris County's governing body. She is the first woman to be elected County Judge and only the second to be elected to the Commissioners Court. Harris County is the third largest county in our nation.

How many judges are in Texas? ›

Profiling Texas Judges
All Judges (n=3151)Court of Appeals (n=80)
Gender
Male (%)72.459.5
Female (%)27.640.5
Race/Ethnicity
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How do you address a judge in Texas? ›

In person: In an interview, social event, or in court, address a judge as “Your Honor” or “Judge [last name].” If you are more familiar with the judge, you may call her just “Judge.” In any context, avoid “Sir” or “Ma'am.”

Who are the federal judges in Austin? ›

Austin
  • United States District Judge Robert Pitman.
  • Senior U.S. District Judge James Nowlin.
  • United States District Judge Alan Albright.
  • Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra.
  • United States Magistrate Judge Dustin Howell.
  • United States Magistrate Judge Mark Lane.
  • United States Magistrate Judge Susan Hightower DUTY

Who appointed federal judge Carl Nichols? ›

Carl J. Nichols
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byRichard W. Roberts
Personal details
BornJune 25, 1970 Rhinebeck, New York, U.S.
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Who is the current leader of the judicial branch in Texas? ›

Nathan L. Hecht is the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.

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