“In Gorsuch, Conservative Activist Sees Test Case for Reshaping the Judiciary”


“The Supreme Court needs to be an institution that helps to undergird limited constitutional government,” said Mr. Leo, 51, whose cerebral, unassuming demeanor belies the enormous clout he has developed in Washington.

It is a worldview that has brought Mr. Leo and his allies together with a range of conservative players. In addition to major corporate backers such as Google and Chevron, the Federalist Society’s supporters include well-known industry-oriented and libertarian-minded business leaders like Charles G. and David H. Koch; the family foundation of Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Mercer family, which gave significantly to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and helped start Breitbart News….

The scale and sophistication of the right’s judicial confirmation efforts would seem to portend a dark period ahead for the left, which, despite having made great strides under Mr. Obama, finds itself outmaneuvered….

But an examination of the Judicial Crisis Network’s operations and financial records suggests that the group, in fact, has an incredibly narrow base. In 2015, the last year that tax records were available, the Judicial Crisis Network’s entire budget of $5.7 million appears to have come from a single donor, an organization called the Wellspring Committee, based in Manassas, Va., that describes its mission as advancing “limited government and free markets.” Judicial Crisis and a sister organization, the Judicial Education Project, reported in tax returns that they had a total of only two employees and no volunteers, and instead largely relied on outside consultants, like CRC Public Relations, a Virginia firm that also lists the Federalist Society and other conservative groups as clients.

Ms. Severino, asked whether her group was simply a shell to secretly move money on behalf of others, said the Judicial Crisis Network should not be judged based on the size of its staff.


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