Now, of the 25 people on Trump’s Supreme Court list, all but one are Federalist Society members or affiliates. Whitehouse adds: “What’s really weird is that through this Federalist Society vehicle, big special interests are picking federal judges.” Senator Whitehouse warns: “Within the Federalist Society, is an operation funded by dark money and designed to remake our judiciary on behalf of a distinct group of very wealthy anonymous funders. The ethical advisory arm of the federal judiciary is circulating a draft rule that would ban judges and their clerks from belonging to the Federalist Society, an organization aimed at … Former Justice Jeff Brown, who was appointed to a federal court by Trump, recently moderated a panel discussion about reforming judicial selection at the annual conference of the Texas chapters of the Federalist Society. This list may not reflect recent changes (). And now we have Supreme Court justices serving 20, 30. Several judges said the invitation from an appellate judge was “highly inappropriate” and put “subtle pressure” on the judges to attend. The Federalist Society has long been used by GOP presidents as a resource to nominate judges. The governors of Arizona and Georgia filled empty seats on their supreme courts with conservative justices linked to the Federalist Society, after their legislatures passed what were perceived as court packing bills. Ron DeSantis pressured a local nominating commission to include a particular applicant on the list of the most qualified candidates. In less than three years, Trump has had 44 Circuit Court judges confirmed, compared to 55 over President Barack Obama’s eight years. Nationally and in Wisconsin they have become activists and super legislators. Montgomery had a record of discriminating against LGBTQ people and blocking criminal justice reforms. The list tells any ambitious young judge or politician or Justice Department employee (we see you, Steven Engel!) There are Federalist Society … The new commission approved Montgomery, and Ducey appointed him. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. Accuracy and availability may vary. Bush and George W. Bush was either a member or approved by members of the Society. AMANDA HOLLIS-BRUSKY: Thank you for having me. Doug Ducey flouted the state constitution’s nonpartisan system for appointing justices to appoint someone who was previously rejected as biased and unqualified. The justices in Indiana and Tennessee do not seem to be as heavily involved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. Trump’s judges are relatively young, meaning they will preside over the country for decades to come. Start by telling me, where did this group begin? See the Appendix below. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Wednesday pushed D.C. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, another leading contender on Trump’s Supreme Court list, has been a member of the Federalist Society. And to learn more about who that group is, we turn now to Amanda Hollis-Brusky. When Phoenix prosecutor Bill Montgomery applied for a seat on the high court, the commission found that he was unqualified and could be perceived as biased. The conservative court recently threw out a lawsuit over the 2018 election for Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor, which mysteriously had 140,000 fewer votes than other races on the ballot. KELLY: Now, this list includes judges who have been handpicked by a group of conservative lawyers called the Federalist Society. A native of Houston, Texas, O'Connor graduated from the University of Houston with his bachelor's degree in 1986 and from South Texas College of Law with his J.D. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse recently filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that said, “Leo has been linked to a million-dollar contribution to the NRA’s lobbying arm, and to a $250 million network largely funded by anonymous donors to promote right-wing causes and judicial nominees.”. And so that list is in many ways a product of the Federal Society and its network. in 1989. The draft specially barred judges from membership in the Federalist Society and the ACS. In addition to the group's programs and conferences, The Federalist Society hosts the annual National Lawyers Convention in Washington, D.C. Scott explains that the nearly 40-year-old Federalist Society “was established in response to the increasingly left-wing bias of the American Bar Association.” Like its counterpart, the Federalist Society holds conferences. Co-founder of conservative legal group the Federalist Society says it IS constitutional to convict Donald Trump after he leaves office. Judge Justin Walker joined a bevy of judges, many appointees of the president, in railing against an ethics proposal on the Federalist Society. Judges appointed by Trump and these governors, with advice from the Federalist Society, have ruled to limit the scope of civil rights or uphold state laws that restrict access to abortion. All of them were active in the Federalist Society. The organization is known as a breeding ground for conservative legal thinkers. The Federalist Society has long been used by GOP presidents as a resource to nominate judges. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently limited the power of lower courts to block laws that are ruled unconstitutional. Trump has appointed former justices linked to the Federalist Society to important seats on the federal courts. The Federalist Society is a hugely powerful, nationwide organization of conservative lawyers which will be instrumental in helping President Trump pick the next Supreme Court nominee. Pages in category "Federalist Society members" The following 200 pages are in this category, out of approximately 289 total. The previous governor, Republican Nathan Deal, appointed a majority of the justices on the court and drew them from the ranks of the Federalist Society. Three appeals court judges who are considered top contenders—Thomas Hardiman, William Pryor, and Neil Gorsuch—are Federalist Society members who regularly speak at society events. The Federalist Society has received millions of dollars from the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation. More than 150 … More than 150 legal and Constitutional scholars, and the co-founders of the uber-conservative Federalist Society, sign a joint letter arguing that a president ABSOLUTELY can tried by the Senate in an impeachment trial even after he's left office And their resumes often include clerkships with other powerful judges who are ― wait for it ― members of the Federalist Society. (previous page) () The court could soon overrule decades of precedent to slash the Democratic governor’s authority over state spending. He joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Walker filled the seats with two appointeeswho had led the Milwau… Arizona Gov. Florida Gov. There was a Washington Post article by a former judge who said the Federalist Society should be a no-go zone for federal judges, to which Meyer again responded, "That's ludicrous." And if Trump has his way, he wants this judge to be on the bench for 40 or 45 years. The high courts in eight states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin—now include a majority of justices who have been involved with the Federalist Society. The appointees also had a history of controversial statements that raised questions about bias. He joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. No more than seven members can belong to one political party. The Federalist Society is not mentioned by name, but the opinion is directed to the propriety of participation by judges in programs or membership in groups engaged in public-policy debates. The Federalist Society’s … Ducey then transformed the nominating commission by ignoring the requirements of the Arizona Constitution, which establishes a commission with 16 members. ... on the Trump administration's judicial selection process along with Federalist Society … Many members of the Federalist Society say that Brown v. He's got 25 names. Activists in Florida and other states are pushing for reforms to judicial selection that could result in diverse courts that are more independent of politicians and special interests. Justice Gorsuch was the speaker at the 2017 Federalist Society gala. Some of Trump’s worst nominees were not confirmed by the Republican Senate. At the state level, judges don’t serve life terms. HOLLIS-BRUSKY: I would say one very direct role is that Leonard Leo, who was the executive vice president of the Federal Society, took leave from the society to construct that list for President Trump. Judicial selection. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have a very excellent list of great, talented, highly educated, highly intelligent, hopefully tremendous people. DeSantis appointed judges affiliated with the Federalist Society, and they have swung the court far to the right. Trump has appointed three Texas Supreme Court justices to the Fifth U.S. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s inevitable confirmation will make a total of six Supreme Court justices who were hand-picked by the Federalist Society. Now, of the 25 people on Trump’s Supreme Court list, all but one are Federalist Society members or affiliates. It’s brilliant in its organization. But the bill would apply only in urban counties with more than 500,000 people. Copyright © 2018 NPR. In sum, the Committee advises that formal affiliation with the ACS or the Federalist Society, whether as a member or in a leadership role, is inconsistent with Canons 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Code [of Judicial Conduct]. The Federalist Society is a powerful, ultra-conservative legal organization that professes to be nonpartisan — a very dubious claim. KELLY: Do we have any way of knowing how they may be seeking to exert influence on the pick, on who might rise to the top of this list of 25 names? Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Justin Walker to discuss a 23-page letter signed by more than two hundred federal judges, including Walker himself, which criticized an ethics proposal to limit federal judges from being members of the conservative Federalist Society or the progressive American Constitution Society. And so as they're walking through this list of nominees, they're of course taking into consideration politics, which senators are more or less likely to vote for particular nominees. Michael Brennan, the head of Walker’s advisory committee on nominations, is the founder of the Milwaukee Federalist Society chapter, according to Molly Beck of Wisconsin State Journal. The governor’s high court recently ruled that businesses in Arizona have a right under the state constitution to discriminate against LGBTQ people, a right that trumps the city of Phoenix’s law prohibiting discrimination. The Independent Counsel in the Iran-Contra Scandal Judge Lawrence Walsh found that Meese was the architect of its cover-up by the Reagan administration. Later that same year, a group backed by the National Association of Manufacturers spent an unprecedented $1.3 million on ads attacking an incumbent Georgia Supreme Court justice, who was reelected. The Rise of Federalist Society Judges. 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