Martin Leach-Cross Feldman

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Martin Feldman
Martin L C Feldman.jpg
Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
In office
May 19, 2010 – May 18, 2017
Appointed by John Roberts
Preceded by George P. Kazen
Succeeded by Robert B. Kugler
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Assumed office
October 5, 1983
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Jack Murphy Gordon
Personal details
Born Martin Leach-Cross Feldman
(1934-01-28) January 28, 1934 (age 84)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Republican
Education Tulane University (B.A.)
Tulane University Law School (J.D.)

Martin Leach-Cross Feldman (born January 28, 1934) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Education and career[edit]

Feldman was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Joseph and Zelma Bosse Feldman. In 1955, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and in 1957, a Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School. He was a member of the Order of the Coif.[1] He was a United States Army JAG Corps Reserve Captain from 1957 to 1963. Feldman served as a law clerk to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1957 to 1959. Feldman had a private practice in New Orleans from 1959 to 1983.[2][3]

Political activism[edit]

In 1959, he became a member of the fledgling Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee. He also headed the New Orleans Young Republicans Club and worked in the 1960 campaign for Richard Nixon in Louisiana, but the state handily cast its electoral votes for John F. Kennedy. He worked in the Barry M. Goldwater campaign in 1964, when Goldwater became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to carry Louisiana. Feldman was a Louisiana delegate to the 1968 and the 1972 Republican National Conventions, both of which met in Miami Beach, Florida, to nominate the Nixon-Agnew tickets, which in the second campaign won in forty-nine states.[1] Feldman was among seventy-one Jewish delegates (prior to his conversion to Roman Catholicism) and alternates to the convention.[4]

In 1974, Feldman lost a race, 67-32, in the Republican State Central Committee to John H. Cade, Jr., for selection as Louisiana Republican National Committeeman.[5]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Feldman was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 9, 1983, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana vacated by Judge Jack Murphy Gordon. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 4, 1983, and received his commission the following day.[3][2] In addition to his service on the District Court in New Orleans, Feldman served a term on the FISA Court from 2010 to 2017.[6]

Robicheaux v. Caldwell[edit]

On September 3, 2014, Feldman issued a ruling upholding Louisiana's ban of same-sex marriage. After the United States Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal statute that banned the United States federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage, as unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, he was the only district federal judge to uphold a state prohibition against same-sex marriage. Feldman said that the state has a legitimate interest in upholding the state's 2004 amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman that was approved by 78% of voters. Feldman stated, "marriage is a legitimate concern of state law and policy, and that it may be rightly regulated because of what for centuries has been its role."

Feldman also equated the recognition of marriage without regard to sex to incest, writing that he was concerned that recognizing marriage without regard to the sex of the members of the couple would lead to a slippery slope that would eventually require courts to recognize polygamy and incest.[7]

For example, must the states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece? Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs.

— Judge Feldman, Robicheaux v. Caldwell ruling

Lawyers for the plaintiffs immediately announced plans to appeal the ruling.

In January 2015, the case was heard in the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court, alongside cases from Texas and Mississippi. The decision remained unresolved at the time of the June 26th Obergefell decision. Following the Supreme Court decision, the appeals court remanded the case back down to Feldman and the district court for a reversal of order ruling in favor of the Louisiana plaintiffs.

Deep water drilling[edit]

On June 22, 2010, Feldman issued a preliminary injunction blocking a six-month moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling in Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the Obama administration intended to immediately appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.[8]

Feldman's 2008 financial disclosure report[9] indicates that in that year, he owned stock in Transocean (worth under $15,000), the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as in other oil companies which would be affected by the moratorium.[10] A federal judge is required to consider recusal when he owns shares in one of the parties in the case before him, however none of the companies listed in Feldman's 2008 disclosure were directly involved in the action against Salazar.

Feldman's 2009 financial disclosure report[11] indicates that he had financial investments in multiple BlackRock funds, each valued under $15000, much like the prior year. Although Blackrock was said to be the largest holder of BP stock,[citation needed] it's not clear that any of these funds held stock in BP. Feldman held stock in Exxon-Mobil during the hearing on the drilling moratorium and from June 8 to June 21, he issued several orders related to the moratorium case. On June 22, at the "opening of the stock market", he reportedly sold his Exxon-Mobil stock. Hours later, he issued his ruling lifting the moratorium.[12]

As of the June 9, 2010 amended complaint, Transocean, Black Rock, BP, and Exxon-Mobil were not plaintiffs in the action.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Louisiana: Martin L. C. Feldman", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 658
  2. ^ a b "Martin L C Feldman". Federal Directory (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). Bethesda, Maryland: Carroll Publishing. 2011. Gale Document Number: GALE|K2415007763. Retrieved 2013-12-30.  Biography in Context. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b "Feldman, Martin Leach-Cross - Federal Judicial Center". 
  4. ^ "71 Jewish Delegates, Alternates Toil at Republican Convention". August 23, 1972. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Louisiana Republicans Hold Elections," Minden Press-Herald, March 4, 1974, p. 1.
  6. ^ Shiffman, John; Cooke, Kristina (2013-06-21). "The judges who preside over America's secret court". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-07-01. Twelve of the 14 judges who have served this year on the most secret court in America are Republicans and half are former prosecutors. 
  7. ^ Bell, Kyle (September 3, 2014). "Louisiana Judge Upholds Gay Marriage Ban Citing Laws Against Incest". South Bend Voice. 
  8. ^ Savage, Charlie (June 22, 2010). "Judge Blocks Deep-Water Drilling Moratorium". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Feldman, Martin L. C. (May 14, 2009). "Financial disclosure report for calendar year 2008" (PDF). p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2013-12-30.  line 19
  10. ^ Roosevelt, Margot (June 22, 2010). "Gulf oil spill: New Orleans judge held energy-related stocks". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ Feldman, Martin L. C. (June 3, 2010). "Financial disclosure report for calendar year 2009" (PDF). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-30.  lines 44-45
  12. ^ Mufson, Steven; Stephens, Joe (June 26, 2010). "Judge in drilling case held stock in oil company affected by moratorium". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  13. ^ "FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL AND AMENDED COMPLAINT against Robert Abbey, Minerals Management Service, Kenneth Lee Salazar and United States Department of the Interior filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services, L for Hornbeck Offshore Services, L.L.C. v. Salazar et al". Justia Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jack Murphy Gordon
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Preceded by
George P. Kazen
Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Succeeded by
Robert B. Kugler