Armed with a deck of card inventory, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) used his time throughout day two of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court affirmation hearings to ship a presentation on conservative “dark money” plans to pad the courtroom with conservative illustration.
Citing the Washington Post, Whitehouse mentioned “The Scheme,” his shorthand for the way an influential nonprofit conservative and libertarian lawyer group and its leaders are utilizing cash and political persuasion to reshape the United States judiciary.
During his nearly 10-minute presentation, Whitehouse stated rulings on a lady’s proper to decide on, entry to reasonably priced well being care, and same-sex marriage may all danger being overturned due to a shady community of main right-wing gamers shaping the federal judiciary.
Exploring how a number of of his GOP colleagues had modified their tune on election-year Supreme Court nominees, Whitehouse said, “My experience around politics is that when you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows.”
According to a 2019 Washington Post article, between 2014 and 2017, conservative nonprofits raised greater than $250 million in donations that was used partly to help conservative insurance policies and judges. Because of the nonprofit standing, beneath IRS rules the donors didn’t need to be publicly disclosed, resulting in the extensively used nickname of “dark money.”
“I’ve never seen this around any court that I’ve ever been involved with where there’s this much dark money and this much influence being used,” Whitehouse stated. “$250 million is a lot of money to spend if you’re not getting anything for it. So that raises the question: What are they getting for it?”
As he continued along with his presentation, Whitehouse turned to a flow-chart slide with names circled and related by crimson marker. The slide highlighted how key figures are tied to the Supreme Court choice course of. Whitehouse mentioned how Federalist Society board co-chair Leonard Leo, Judicial Crisis Network president Carrie Severino, and different conservative forces are utilizing their affect to take care of elite judicial energy.
Last month following Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s demise, Mother Jones reported that the Judicial Crisis Network introduced it will spend “at least $2.2 million” in commercials to spice up whoever Trump chosen to fill Ginsburg’s vacant seat. The group additionally performed a key position in boosting Trump’s earlier and profitable Supreme Court appointments, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The group spent “tens of millions” to help these nominations, Mother Jones reported.
Whitehouse stated objectives that might be furthered by the affirmation of Coney Barrett embrace regulatory environmental-protection rollbacks that might reward polluters, voting suppression that significantly targets minority voters, and limitless darkish cash in politics. He referred to as the intentions “biased” and “partisan.”
“With the same funders selecting judges, funding campaigns for the judges, and then showing up in court in these orchestrated amicus flotillas to tell the judges what to do,” he stated. “Something just isn’t proper across the Court. And darkish cash has rather a lot to do with it. Special pursuits have rather a lot to do with it.”
Whitehouse, who has served as a Rhode Island senator since 2007, used to work as a U.S. lawyer.
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