The “Dark Monies” allowed into the Republican Party body politics by the likes of the Koch brothers and their crony billionaires have for all intensive purposes bought and paid for it and its lawmakers. Either the US congressional lawmakers and the president respond to their demands or these wealthy donors won’t let go of the money flow that the republican leaders have become addicted to counting on, in order to sty in power.
They are simply taking full advantage of the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling “Citizens United v FEC where corporations can act as individuals in creating ads and pay for political activities to push favored policies like the overturning of Roe v Wade, Obamacare, and to deliver rulings in favor of corporations, deregulation, etc..
These dark monies, where the donors can remain anonymous, flow into conservative organizations like Americans for Prosperity and numerous other conservative organizations which include the Federalist Society that is responsible for the appointments for the last 3 Supreme Court justices and now, the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
This is a crucial point because the executive Vice President Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society has personally assisted in the placement of these justices with the singular purpose to defeat Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision that allows women legal access to abortions. So any pro-choice republican senator who claims this mantel but approves the nomination of their selected justices are guilty of misleading their constituents.
If “we the people” wonder why our voices no longer seem to count, then look no further, than these donors who helped create the environment that made a leader like the republican President Donald Trump, inevitable, and the sycophants in the US Congress who have failed to hold him accountable. Now these donors plan to own the Supreme Court. So, if legislation gets through the US Congress that they don’t like, they can then count on the US Supreme Court to remedy this situation.
As per a 4/17/17 New Yorker report, “Students did start the Federalist Society from scratch, but it is less clear that tremendous courage was required. Within just a few years, the group was embraced and funded by a number of powerful, wealthy conservative organizations, which eventually included foundations associated with John Olin, Lynde and Harry Bradley, Richard Scaife, and the Koch brothers. “The funders all got the idea right away—that you can win elections, you can have mass mobilizations, but unless you can change élites and the institutions that are by and large controlled by the élites, like the courts, there are limits to what you can do,” Amanda Hollis-Brusky, a professor of politics at Pomona College and the author of “Ideas with Consequences,” a study of the Federalist Society, said. “The idea was to train, credential, and socialize a generation of alternative élites.”
Here’s the rest of the story…
On April 17, 2017, Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker penned the following report, “The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court” (“With the Federalist Society, Leonard Leo has reared a generation of originalist élites. The selection of Neil Gorsuch is just his latest achievement.”)
“The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, which were held last month, in Washington, D.C., quickly fell into a pattern. Democratic senators unsuccessfully sought to pin down Gorsuch’s views on issues such as campaign finance, while Republicans made gentle inquiries that seemed designed to run out the clock. In this vein, toward the end of Gorsuch’s testimony, Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, asked Gorsuch his opinion about the Declaration of Independence. Gorsuch took the opportunity to deliver a patriotic lecture about the heroism of the Founders. “No one remembers who John Hancock was,” Gorsuch said. “But they know that that’s a signature because he wrote his name so bigly . . .” Gorsuch’s invocation of one of Donald Trump’s trademark utterances, apparently accidental, prompted an explosion of laughter from the audience.”
Seated toward the back of the hearing room, Leonard Leo smiled. “There’s one sound bite,” he whispered to me, then added, “You know, the hearings matter so much less than they once did. We have the tools now to do all the research. We know everything they’ve written. We know what they’ve said. There are no surprises.” Gorsuch had committed no real gaffes, caused no blowups, and barely made any news—which was just how Leo had hoped the hearings would unfold.
Leo has for many years been the executive vice-president of the Federalist Society, a nationwide organization of conservative lawyers, based in Washington. Leo served, in effect, as Trump’s subcontractor on the selection of Gorsuch, who was confirmed by a vote of 54–45, last week, after Republicans changed the Senate rules to forbid the use of filibusters. Leo’s role in the nomination capped a period of extraordinary influence for him and for the Federalist Society. During the Administration of George W. Bush, Leo also played a crucial part in the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Now that Gorsuch has been confirmed, Leo is responsible, to a considerable extent, for a third of the Supreme Court.
Leo, who is 51, has neither held government office nor taught in a law school. He has written little and has given few speeches. He is not, technically speaking, even a lobbyist. Leo is, rather, a convener and a networker, and he has met and cultivated almost every important Republican lawyer in more than a generation. At the Gorsuch hearings, which took place in the Hart Senate Office Building, Leo acted as the unofficial mayor of the room. Sometimes he sat in the back, so that he could kibbitz with reporters, and sometimes he sat up front, behind Trump Administration officials. (Leo has been on leave from the Federalist Society to work full time on Gorsuch’s confirmation.) “When Leonard walks in that room, everyone knows who he is,” Carrie Severino, the chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, another conservative organization that worked on Gorsuch’s behalf, said. “If you care about the conservative legal movement, you always take note of Leonard.”
“Leo is at ease in the role of impresario. His grandfather was a vice-president of Brooks Brothers, and he instilled in young Leonard a taste for the bella figura. Leo wears tailored suits, often with contrasting waistcoats, and a double-length gold fob attached to a 1935 train conductor’s pocket watch. (“The most accurate watch in the United States until the fifties,” he said.) In lieu of office meetings, Leo prefers to chat over breakfast (just bacon, no eggs) at the Hay-Adams Hotel, across from the White House. As his friend Boyden Gray, the White House counsel under George H. W. Bush, puts it, “He knows the best restaurants in every major city in the world, and the best wines. He has a wide-ranging, inquiring mind, and he can and will talk about any subject under the sun.”
“Leo’s role in the judicial nominations has drawn fierce criticism from liberals. Nan Aron, who is the longtime president of the Alliance for Justice, which advocates for a progressive judiciary, told me, “The Federalist Society has for years been singularly focussed on building a farm team of judicial nominees who subscribe to a philosophy that is hostile to the advancement of social and economic progress in the country. Behind the scenes, during Republican Administrations, they are very engaged in identifying and recruiting for judges candidates who are ultra-conservatives—who are opposed to our rights and liberties across the board, whether it’s women, the environment, consumer protections, worker protections.” Gorsuch is likely to be only the first of Leo’s Trump Administration appointees: he is preparing for yet more vacancies on the Supreme Court, and also finding candidates for some of the hundred-plus vacancies on the lower courts, deepening his imprint on the judiciary.”
“Leo’s life has been shaped as much by Catholicism as by conservatism. He was born on Long Island, and his father died, of cancer, when he was a preschooler. When Leo was five, his mother got remarried, to an engineer, and the family moved to central New Jersey, where Leo spent most of his childhood. His grandfather emigrated to the United States from Italy when he was fourteen and became a tailor before working his way up at Brooks Brothers. “He understood America as being a land of opportunity, understood the value of capitalism, the value of hard work, personal responsibility,” Leo told me. “My grandparents were deeply religious people, they were daily Mass attendees. So I got all of that.”
“Leo went to college at Cornell, where he studied with a group of conservative professors in the government department. That led to internships in Washington during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency—notably for Senator Orrin Hatch, who was then, as now, a member of the Judiciary Committee. Leo went on to law school, also at Cornell, after which he returned to Washington and clerked for a federal appellate judge, A. Raymond Randolph, on the D.C. Circuit.”
“In the meantime, he had married his high-school sweetheart, Sally Schroeder. In 1992, they had their first child, Margaret, who was born with spina bifida, which confined her to a wheelchair and led to other medical complications. “She was a real miracle, despite having a really serious handicap, and many other issues, too,” Leo said. “She was extraordinarily vivacious, talented, simple. She had a great way with people.” Clarence Thomas, Leo said, still keeps her drawings under glass on his desk.”
“Margaret’s example deepened Leo’s Catholic faith. She encouraged him to go to daily Mass, though he found keeping up attendance difficult. During a family vacation in 2007, when Margaret was fourteen, Leonard promised her that he would resume the practice. On the morning after they returned, Leo got up early to go to Mass. He looked in on Margaret. Then, as he was walking down the hall, she started gasping for breath. She died shortly afterward. “I will always think that she did her job,” Leo told me. “She did her job.”
“The Leos have six other children, including an eight-year-old son who also has spina bifida. A friend of Leo’s said, “Leonard comes to his pro-life views out of a place of incredible sincerity. They always treated Margaret throughout her life like any other child.” According to Leo, the vast majority of abortions are a consequence of voluntary, consensual sexual encounters, an opinion that influences his view of the procedure.“We can have a debate about abortion,” he told me. “It’s a very simple one for me. It’s an act of force. It’s a threat to human life. It’s just that simple.”
“In the light of Leo’s perspective, the possibility that he would put forward a Supreme Court nominee who would turn out to support abortion rights seems nonexistent. Roberts and Alito have voted against reproductive rights; so, in all likelihood, will Gorsuch. As Edward Whelan, a prominent conservative legal activist and blogger, wrote recently, “No one has been more dedicated to the enterprise of building a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade than the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo.”
“Leo was a close friend of Antonin Scalia, who instilled in him an affinity for the judicial philosophies known as originalism and textualism. In rough terms, these approaches hold that judges should interpret the Constitution according to its original meaning. If the Framers did not think they were establishing, say, a right to abortion, then contemporary judges should not recognize one, either. “What’s the best way to preserve the dignity and worth of the human person?” Leo asked me one day over breakfast. He answered, “You assure all that freedom by establishing limitations on the power of the state.”
“Freedoms are best protected, Leo believes, not by the assertion of rights but by the structure of separation of powers. “I was drawn to the Federalist Society because it, in my view, understood that ‘it’s the structure, stupid,’ ” Leo told me. “Scalia used to say this all the time. Scalia said tyrannies had long lists of rights. What they didn’t have was structural restraints on the power of government. I was smitten by that.” Of course, Leo wants to see the power of government restrained in some ways but not in others. As he put it, “If you look at the areas where a true conservative is willing to tolerate restrictions on the individual, by dint of government power, it’s generally fraud, force, and threats to human life and security.”
“Translated from the language of abstraction, Leo has an even broader conservative agenda than simply limiting rights unknown to the Framers, such as gay rights. “What people in the Federalist Society mean when they talk about ‘structure’ is limiting the regulatory power of the state,” Samuel Issacharoff, a professor at New York University School of Law, said. “They believe that the text of the Constitution strictly limits what Congress and judges can do. So they embrace a whole series of doctrines that say Congress can’t do anything unless it’s specifically authorized in the Constitution. And then administrative agencies can’t do anything unless Congress has specifically authorized it by law. For decades, judges thought it was permissible to fill in the gaps left by the ambiguities in the Constitution and laws. But the current conservatives have an activist agenda to peel back the power of government.”
“On November 15, 2007, nearly two thousand people filled the great hall of Washington’s cavernous Union Station for a black-tie celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Federalist Society. President George W. Bush attended, Chief Justice John Roberts sent a video salute, and three other sitting Justices—Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito—appeared in person to pay tribute. Scalia and Thomas spoke about the group’s origins, a story that is critical to its mythology.”
“The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by three law students, at the University of Chicago and at Yale. Scalia was the group’s first faculty adviser at Chicago, where he was then a professor; the adviser at Yale was Robert Bork, who was later nominated to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan. As the Federalists see it, the society’s founders were scrappy outsiders who were waging a lonely struggle against the pervasive liberalism of America’s law schools. Scalia said at the anniversary party, “We thought we were just planting a wildflower among the weeds of academic liberalism, and it turned out to be an oak.” Elaborating on this point, Thomas said, “I look at this huge audience . . . and I can only imagine the courage of a few young people who came up with yet one more idea: let’s start something. Let’s start an organization where we can actually talk about ideas, where we can actually talk about the Constitution and its structure, and how that structure is to protect our liberty. . . . Can you imagine the courage that these young people had?”
Link to entire article: The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court | The New Yorker