The ‘dark money’ showdown at this week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing


It’s also a battle between the well-funded advocacy groups on both sides who pour millions into modern Supreme Court confirmation fights — and which are increasingly attracting the attention of lawmakers seeking to defeat the candidates on the other side.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Criticized Jackson for being supported by “fringe groups” who “spend black money to raise his profile” – a reference to his support of demand justicea progressive group formed in 2018 to push Democrats to the left on justice issues.

“The same radicals who want to make Democrats the party of court wrappers were just as keen on having Judge Jackson in that job,” he said earlier this month.

Democrats responded by criticizing McConnell as a hypocrite. But Demand Justice and other progressive legal groups have also rolled out an unusual rebuttal: We’re not as powerful as you think.

“They’ve been there longer,” said Brian Fallonexecutive director of Demand Justice, referring to conservative groups such as Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network. “They have a lot more money. And they took the field by a 6-3 margin.

“We still have a long way to go before we are as influential or as awash with resources as they are,” he added.

As evidence of Demand Justice’s lack of influence, Fallon pointed her call 2019 that the next Democratic president refrain from appointing “corporate lawyers” to be federal judges.

While President Biden focused on appointing “individuals whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench, including those who are public defenders, civil rights and legal aid attorneys,” such as his transition team said in a letter to senators, he continued to exploit corporate lawyers — and Democratic senators have consistently recommended them for judgeships in their home countries.

“You look at a state like New Jersey, and the two senators there” – Democrat Senses. Cory Booker and Robert Mendez — “have been some of the worst,” Fallon said. “They completely ignored Biden’s advice.”

(Maya Krishna-Rogers, a spokesperson for Booker, wrote in an email that Booker believes diversity “goes beyond professional history,” citing his support for black and Muslim federal judges. Booker also said justices like Jackson, who have experience as public defenders, are “much needed” on the Supreme Court.)

Demand Justice also failed to persuade Biden or most congressional Democrats to approve adding four seats to the Supreme Court. And the group has angered some Democratic senators in the past with its intransigent positions.

But some conservatives aren’t buying Fallon’s protests about his group’s lack of influence. A former Demand Justice staff member, Paige Herwigworks on judicial appointments to the White House Counsel Office, as Carrie Severinounderlined the president of the Judicial Crisis Network.

“I see Demand Justice’s shortlist and their advocacy is what put Ketanji Brown Jackson on the map,” Severino said. “They certainly seemed to think their voices were going to be heard when they advocated for this.”

A longtime Republican veteran of Supreme Court battles, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said that if conservative court groups were can -being more powerful than their progressive counterparts, their influence paled in comparison to the country. predominantly liberal elite law schools.

“You really have to compare it with the Federalist Society versus most law schools, in which case law schools are much more powerful,” the person said.

Whitehouse, who held a hearing last year on the influence of “dark money” on the Supreme Court, said he agreed with Fallon that liberal groups have been outplayed by conservatives.

“They are the ones who managed to control the composition of the court and implant selected judges in the court,” he told The Early in an interview on Friday. “There is no such achievement on the progressive side. Yes, some groups have anonymous donors. But they haven’t accomplished much other than speaking out.

They also aren’t spending as much to back Jackson as conservative groups are spending to back Barrett — at least so far.

Demand Justice said it plans to spend about $1 million on ads to support Jackson. Rebuilding togetheran outside group that backs Biden, will spend an additional $1 million in partnership with the Black Women’s Leadership Collective and She will rise. Another progressive justice group, the Alliance for Justice Action Campaignplans to spend between $250,000 and $300,000.

Judicial Crisis Network alone, meanwhile, said so spent 10 million dollars on advertisements supporting Barrett in 2020.

But the former senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who served on the Judiciary Committee and is now chairman of the American Incorporation Companya progressive counterpart at the Federalist Society, said progressives shouldn’t try to match conservative groups dollar for dollar.

“If you’re trying to compete with the law for money and resources, and it’s an OK Corral or a win-win approach where there are no rules, chances are progressives lose,” Feingold said. “The best thing for progressives — and, I think, for all Americans and for the Supreme Court — is for the process to revert to a series of standards and rules where the big bucks can’t dominate the process.”

Here’s what else you need to know at the start of the confirmation hearing:

Supreme Court Justice Thomas, hospitalized with infection, will miss closing arguments this week

Thomas admitted to Sibley: Justice Clarence Thomas “is hospitalized for an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics, the Supreme Court announced on Sunday evening,” our colleague said. Robert Barnes reports.

  • “Thomas, 73, was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington on Friday evening, the statement said, with flu-like symptoms.”
  • “‘He has been tested, diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics,’ the statement read. “His symptoms are easing, he is resting comfortably and he expects to be discharged hospital in a day or two.”

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in 2014 and 2015 shapes Biden’s actions

“The Ukrainian government whisperer”: “Former diplomats and defense officials who visited the U.S. Naval Observatory in early 2015 were looking for a receptive audience – and they found one in Vice President Biden», our colleagues Ashley Parker and Ellen Nakashima write. “Russia had taken control of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea the previous year, and officials urgently wanted President Barack Obama send advanced anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, called Javelins.

  • “Not only would this help repel separatists armed by Russia, they insisted, but it would serve as a potent symbol of America’s determination to stand with a former Soviet republic that was steadily heading west.
  • “He said, ‘Okay, I’m going to walk down the hall’ – that is, to the Oval Office – ‘and plead the case'” reminded John Lodal, a former senior Pentagon official who helped organize the meeting. But Lodal said Biden added with a smile, “You have to remember my first name: it’s ‘Vice.’ spelled VICE. I am the highest paid staff officer in the government.
  • “Indeed, Obama denied the request, fearing that providing lethal aid to Ukraine would escalate tensions with Russia.”

“Now Biden as president is finally doing what he couldn’t do back then,” write our colleagues. “He has provided Ukraine with more than $2 billion in security assistance since the start of his administration, including small arms, body armor and other small ammunition – including, of course , javelins.”

Troll, but in real life: Just keep peddling. 🚴

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