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Justice Breyer Hears Case
Unaware of Stock Conflict

Oct. 20, 2015, 4:00 AM

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 A. Alito Jr. 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 (FERC v. Electric Power Supply Ass’n, U.S., 14-840, argued 10/14/15).

Six chairs over, Justice Stephen G. 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 ...