WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Federalist Society and Influencing the Court

The Federalist Society (FS) is a very powerful, right wing, political organization that has succeeded in placing an unprecedented five lawyers on the supreme court. In addition, 17 of Trump’s 18 Federal Court appointments are members and were recommended by the Society to Trump. Federalist Society Supreme Court Justices so far include Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch. In addition, Trump’s latest nomination to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanugh is another recommendation.

The organization started off in alignment with traditional conservative values but has since drifted to become a radical and dangerous organization. The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by conservatives from the Reagan administration and failed Reagan Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork. It started out innocently enough with an objective that is consistent with general conservative principles such as preserving freedom, separation of governmental powers and avoiding judicial activism by strictly interpreting the law as it is written.

The group is funded by some of the wealthiest and politically active conservatives including the Koch Brothers and the Mercer family in addition to the late oil baron, Richard Mellon Scaife. The organization has about 70,000 members. The same people who fund and control the Federalist Society also fund the campaigns of the Republican presidential candidates, making intricate connections between the Federalist Society and the Republican Party.
The organization acts as a fraternity and center for the cultivation of hard right, conservative attorneys. They have a presence on the campus of the most powerful Law Schools including Harvard and Yale where they started. Members are cultivated for federal jobs and judgeships. The most committed and connected members make it to the short list for appointments.

Their goal is to stack the courts with the most conservative judges. Prior to their formation, both Democrat and Republican Presidents used the recommendation of the American Bar Association who rates judges based on their qualifications and not ideology. Ideology certainly played into the process of each President but not as strongly as it does today.

Aside stacking the courts, the Federalist Society is the force behind efforts to destroy the New Deal Social Safety Net (Social Security, Medicare), giving all corporations the right of free speech (and unlimited political contributions), giving corporations religious protections even if they are not religious organizations, hence allowing them to be exempt from Obamacare regulations (Hobby Lobby), and they oppose the spread of Islam. They also hold that women and LGBT members are not in a “protected class” under constitutional law.

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