President George W. Bush’s nominees to some of the most influential positions on the federal bench during his first term are notable for their close ties to corporate interests, especially the energy and mining industries, according to a new investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Many of the nominees have been appointed to judgeships holding central jurisdiction over litigation affecting these industries.

CIR is making its research available to other journalists and the public at www.CourtingInfluence.net, marking the first time that the financial disclosure statements and Senate confirmation questionnaires of federal judicial nominees have been made freely and easily accessible. CIR’s yearlong investigation focuses on the Bush administration’s 59 judicial nominees to federal courts of appeals and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which hears major property rights claims and land disputes.

By shedding light on the financial interests and professional alliances of judges, CIR aims to create a more complete picture of the predispositions that may weigh on judges when competing parties come before them on the bench.

Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.