Senator Whitehouse - SCOTUS hearing, Republicans condemning Dark Money

I’ve had a chance to listen to parts of the Confirmation Hearing - and the cold blooded, petty viciousness, of the Republican Senators (who’s questions are wholly inappropriate to this particular hearing was mind numbing. And everything I write from here on, I don’t like, and delete, because I do want to be a little positive. …

Moving right along. Senator Whitehouse once again impressed me, he did a superb job of deconstructing the Republican Dark Money diversion. Such a good job that I believe it’s worth highlighting with this post.

Sen. Whitehouse Questions Judge Jackson on Day Two of (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s) Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

YouTube, March 22, 2022 | Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse delivers a presentation on right-wing dark money and questions Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on the role of the civil jury on the 2nd day of her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court.

Senator Whitehouse 5:12:

(This) relates to yesterday’s activities
A lot was said in this room yesterday about Dark Money by our Republican friends to the point where one of the headlines about yesterday [Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson SOTUS nomination] read Republicans hammer dark money groups.

I’ll be the first to concede that there is Dark Money on both sides and I hope very much we can get rid of it on both sides shortly by legislation.

But there is a difference I believe between a Dark Money interest rooting for someone, and right-wing Dark Money interests having a role in actually picking the last three Supreme Court Justices.

Now, how do we know that they had a role in doing that well we know because everybody involved said so. It was pretty straightforward stuff. President trump said we’re going to have great judges conservative all picked by the Federalist Society.

That’s pretty plain, Senator Orrin Hatch former Chairman said some have accused President trump of outsourcing his judicial selection process to the Federalist Society, I say damn right.

The co-founder of the Federal Society said, that the (trump) Administration is relying on the Federal Society to come up with qualified nominees. Then Don McGahn who ran the operation for trump in the White House said I’ve been a member of the Federal Society since law school, I still am, so frankly it seems like that role has been insourced.

So, there’s pretty clear and pretty broad agreement that that selection process took place out of the public eye and it appears to have been informed heavily by Dark Money interests. They were not alone in saying this.

Here’s Laura Ingraham on Fox News, concerned about abortion cases coming up before the Court. “We have Six republican appointees on this Court after all the money that’s been raised the Federalist Society, all these big fat cat dinners. If this court with six Justices cannot do the right thing… then I think it’s time to circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court (and if they want to blow it up, then that’s the way to change thing finally”)

That’s the way to change things finally. So we have people who are in a position to know what was going on behind the scenes describing the six Republican appointees on the court who got there after all the money that has been raised the Federalist Society and all these big fat cat dinners and threatening that they don’t do what she considers to be the right thing they’ll be punished by circumscribing the jurisdiction of the court.

That’s pretty big talk but it’s backed up by pretty big dollars. If you go back to before this enterprise got underway the money that came into the Federal Society from what’s called Donors Trust which has been described as the Dark Money ATM of the right Koch Brothers affiliated operation. Back say in 2002, it got $5,000.

No big deal by 2019 when this operation was in full swing it got $7,000,000. We don’t know who the real donor was, because that’s the job of Donor’s Trust is to de-identify the donor. To launder the identity off the donation so you can’t connect the dots any longer. But, $7,000,000 I think is quite a lot of money and unfortunately the Federalist Society was not alone. Right down the hallway is something called the Judicial Crisis Network its offices on the same hallway of the Federal Society in the downtown Washington building.

Although JCN’s website and tax filings list a mailing address at a different location an address shared by multiple companies, and right down that hallway at that Judicial Crisis Network there’s even more money pouring and here’s how much poured into the last three nominations via the Judicial Crisis Network (aka Concord Fund)

Gorsuch……………… $21,000,000
Kavanaugh…………… $17,000,000
Barrett………………… $14,000,000

Of course, we don’t know who the actual donor is, could be the same donor, who knows, and because we don’t know who the donor is, we don’t know what business they might have had before the court.

I think it matters when people are seeking to influence the makeup of the Court that the public understand what business they may have before the court and anonymity hides all of that.

They didn’t stop with the trump nominees. They got up on the air, a Dark Money group, using Dark Money, to accuse Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee at that point a player to be named later, Judge Jackson had not been selected at this point, of being a tool or stooge of liberal activist Dark Money this is a screenshot from their advertisement paid for by the Judicial Crisis Network.

So, it’s worth understanding for a moment what the Judicial Crisis Network is and where it lies. It lies in a network of organizations. The prevailing way that political mischief is accomplished these days is with a paired 501c3 and 501c4 organization - the 501c3 gets the tax deduction, the 501c4 gets to participate in political activity and sure enough there’s an 85 Fund and a Concord Fund that are twinned together as a 501c3 and 501c4 organization.

They filed under Virginia Corporation Law to operate under what they call “Fictitious Names” that’s the term of law under which they file fictitious names. There’s the Judicial Crisis Network one of the fictitious names of the Concord Fund it has a parallel Judicial Education Project that is a Fictitious Name of the 85 Fund.

If you’re interested in voter suppression you can move down to the Honest Elections Project Action another Fictitious Name and it’s 501c3 twin the Honest Elections Project and they’ve even got new ones, that are less active Free to Learn Action and Free to Learn so these are 8 organizations that are essentially one organization.

As lawyers we think from time to time about piercing the corporate veil. That’s corporate veiling, that you could pierce with a banana and it runs back and forth with three groups called CRC Advisors, CRC Strategies and CRC Public Relations that take and send money to these organizations as part of the, sort of, planning element you might say that CRC Advisors, CRC Strategies and CRC Public Relations, this trio is the command center and this is the operational torso of the creature.

I show all this because it shows considerable effort when somebody goes to that much trouble to create that many organizations to hide how much money they’ve spent to control the nomination process to the Court.

It’s no small amount of money. In the original Washington Post research they pegged it at 250 million dollars. Further research led to testimony in my Court Subcommittee that the number was actually 400 million dollars and we have a recent report, that we haven’t fact checked, that the number is actually even higher than that. So I may amend this number upward once we’re done with our fact checking. 400 million dollars funding conservative activists behind the scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts.

That operation is a very different thing than a group rooting for somebody and I want to make sure that that difference is clear since our friends on the republican side have made Dark Money such a big focus of their attention already. There is a drastic difference between rooting for somebody and controlling the turnstile that decides who gets on the court.

Controlling the funding of the political campaigns that pursue the folks on the court, and actually once you get on the court, we’re working now with the Judiciary itself, to try to clean up the mess of that same anonymous money appearing before the court through phony front groups that file Amicus Briefs and little flotillas, or if it’s an important enough case and a full armada of Dark Money-funded front groups.

So that bears not at all on this nominee but because this is a very public forum and because we’ve heard all that so-called hammering of Dark Money groups I wanted to make sure that it was clear to everybody how this game is played and what the difference is in the way the two sides play it.

Back to our business, Judge Jackson, have served as a trial court judge I have you have served as an Appellate Court Judge. …

Fact-checking Ted Cruz’s claims against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

CNN’s Sunlen Serfaty and Daniel Dale break down Republicans’ claims during the first day of questioning in Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearing.


Sen. Whitehouse Speaks About Dark Money At Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court Hearing

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday featured Senator Sheldon Whitehouse doing a masterful job of schooling Republicans on their laughable claim that dark money was behind her nomination, when they should be taking a hard look at their own party. He reminded everyone that it was no secret that the Federalist Society picked the judges on former president Donald trump’s shortlist. Sen. Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joins Joy Reid on his statements.

Sen. Whitehouse is probably trying to make Ms Jackson look bad in the hopes others in congress do not confirm her. Taylor-Green was ticking me off with harassing questions. Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution in part because it was written by men, who weren’t thinking of the rights and needs of anyone who was not male, free, white, and 21. However, it is part of healthcare and in course of human dignity and personal dignity in making one’s own informed decisions, it is indirectly covered. Regardless, Taylor-Green refuses to see that and prefers to allow the woman to die, then for that unborn zygote to be terminated, preferring to view it as a baby. It doesn’t matter to her if a woman has two other living children at home, she has to carry that pregnancy to term, even if it kills her and leaves children orphans, not thinking that the fetus could die anyway. If it dies in utero, then it could become sepsis and kill the woman, leaving no baby and no woman. This leads us to her harassing questions on transgenderism and the demand that Ms. Jackson define “woman”, which she declined to do. I understand why Ms. Jackson refused to answer that question and while I don’t understand transgenderism, gender neutral-ism (is it an -ism yet?), etc etc, people should be able to make an informed decision about their lives. Laws should not be decided on religion, because the U.S. has never been a theocracy, but the Repugs want the U.S. to be a theocracy, controlling people, especially women and other minorities and women who are that religious (as Taylor-Green and what’s her name pushed onto the Supreme Court) bow and coo to the oppression of male dominated religion. They don’t, won’t, or can’t see that religion was created by men in an effort to control others.


I think you may have misunderstood what he did up there.
He’s bound by facts, so acknowledging that Dark Money exists on both sides, is what it is.
But, notice he made a stark delineation between “Rooting” for your guy,
and gaming the American political process to plant your guy,
that’s at a whole different level.
which is what the Republics have been doing.

Oh and notice

The Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Steve McMahon join Morning Joe to discuss the second day of hearings for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Ends with an interesting point.

The Repugs always do such things.

An update now that the 3 days of the petty torment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson are over, I’d like to enter some updates into the record. :slightly_smiling_face:

1. Seeking a middle road

2. Rebuffing GOP attacks

3. Supreme Court procedure

4. Confirmation likely

5. Power in dissents

6. Senate leaders weigh in

  1. Graham invokes Trump

  2. Increasingly sharp exchanges

  3. The GOP’s big final push

  4. An important recusal

  5. Fallout from the ‘war criminal’ flap

By Carl Hulse

WASHINGTON — The Republican manhandling of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson this week was convincing evidence that the Senate’s Supreme Court confirmation process is irredeemably broken.

The aggressively hostile interrogation of Judge Jackson, featuring political dog-whistling and relentless re-litigating of Supreme Court feuds of the past, marred what could have been not only a reset for the Senate, but a significant national moment in seeing the first Black woman ascend to the pinnacle of American jurisprudence with strong support.

Instead it was an escalation of what has come before it in recent years: toxic partisanship, bitter attacks and nasty questioning full of innuendo about the supposed character failings of a nominee who will likely carry the scars across the street to the high court.

“Do you believe child predators are misunderstood?” Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asked in one of the many loaded queries aimed at defining Judge Jackson as some sort of pedophile enabler, despite years of lauded service on the bench. …

I don’t remember hearing her define woman, but according to this she did:

The way I saw it, was she was trying to be neutral, but she would liberal. However, I thought Blackburn was being terrible. I don’t think Blackburn is right about 70 some odd percent of women want to overturn Roe v Wade and her claim of millions of babies being killed because of it, was just plain stupid. It isn’t up to others what a woman decides medically, but Blackburn thinks it is.

IMHO, the whole thing was stupid and such questioning shouldn’t be. I really hope Jackson ends up on the Supreme court.

There are so many teachable moments on these hearings, but they aren’t designed for that. Blackburn’s questions were designed to get votes for her when she runs again.

That WaPo piece was a great turn around of the phrase “what does it mean to be a woman”

Echoing Conservative Grievances, Blackburn Miscasts Jackson’s Views

Senator Marsha Blackburn took quotes out of context as she levied a blistering attack against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
By Charlie Savage, March 21, 2022

WASHINGTON — Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, ripped into Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, tying the nominee to a wide range of conservative grievances. But the lawmaker’s accusations appeared to often be based on quotes taken out of context. Here’s a closer look at some of her apparent sources.

Blackburn linked Jackson to the controversy over transgender athletes and women’s sports.

Blackburn suggested Jackson would trample parental rights.

The senator said that Judge Jackson is on the board of a school that tells kindergartners “that they can choose their gender and teaches them about so-called white privilege.”

Blackburn accused Jackson of wanting to put dangerous criminals on the street.

Accusing Judge Jackson of having “consistently called for greater freedom for hardened criminals,”

Blackburn accused Jackson of saying every judge has a hidden agenda.

Ms. Blackburn said that Judge Jackson “once wrote that every judge has, and I quote, personal hidden agendas, end quote, that influence how they decide cases.” …
That quotation came from Judge Jackson’s undergraduate college thesis, which criticized the plea bargaining system.
But the future judge did not write that “every judge” has a hidden agenda.

Blackburn said Jackson praised the 1619 Project.

Blackburn said Jackson thinks judges must use ‘critical race theory’ when sentencing criminals.

MARCH 24, 2022

Republican senators painted Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as hostile to anti-abortion views, twisting words from a legal brief she co-signed years ago as evidence she would rule broadly against abortion opponents. That’s a misrepresentation. A look at some of the statements during three days of confirmation hearings …

WHOA: Republican calls out OWN party’s senators to their faces for “jack*ssery” during hearing

March 23, 2022, Brian Tyler Cohen

I believe this is a thread worth keeping updated, although perhaps after she’s confirmed I should start a new thread dedicated to the Supreme Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and her impact on the Court and perhaps even the nation.

Sen. Whitehouse: GOP ‘Misled The Public’ On Judge Jackson’s Sentencing Record

Apr 4, 2022

he uses the term “swamp” here, in the way I understand it; those dark money consultants who move back and forth from campaigns, to bureaucrats, to think tanks, and dig up dirt, makeup talking points, and find facts out of context.

If Trump had drained that swamp, I would have voted for him.

Looks like they are wrapping it up. Then a new chapter starts.

Apr 5, 2022

Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joins Andrea Mitchell to discuss the significance of the three Republicans announcing their support for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. “I think they saw in Judge Jackson what we all saw - this woman with incredible legal acumen, incredible ability to understand that the law is not just words on a page, that every single opinion impacts real people,” says Klobuchar. “It’s now 53 to 47. There’s not a lot of drama.”

It looks like the spirit of Martin Luther King still lives and affects the national discourse at it’s very foundations. A great day in the history of the US.
And a Biden election promise kept.

hip,hip, hooray!!!

Explore Our Coverage of Judge Jackson’s Confirmation - NYT - April 7, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated by President Biden to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

A Historic Nomination

A Highly Polarized Process

Judge Jackson’s Confirmation

  • Judge Jackson will help make the Supreme Court look a lot more like the nation it serves. But she will have little power to halt its rightward trajectory.
  • To many of the women in the Harvard Black Law Students Association, the nomination of Judge Jackson has felt deeply personal. Here is what some of them had to say about this history-making moment.

Well, despite Boy Blunthead (Roy Blunt) and Posh Pawley (Josh Hawley), as well as other Repugs, the Honorable Judge Jackson gets to take a seat on the Supreme Court. I’ve been doing a happy dance ever since I heard today. :slight_smile:


Sen. Cory Booker on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation: “Today is a day of healing for a lot of people, today is a day of triumph for a lot of folks, and it’s definitely a day of celebration to see this glass ceiling shattered in what is a Jackie Robinson moment for America.”

Of course, Republican politicians once again let their totalitarian racist colors show by acting like a bunch of rich spoiled frat boys and making a performance of walking out of the chamber in a show of contempt for American’s pluralistic foundation and most of their fellow Americans.

Gonna be a heck of year on the high court.

Little do they realize that such behavior speaks only of close-minded ignorance and prejudice.
It is they who need to respect the Constitution. It is their behavior that sparks insurrection movements like Jan6

A Day of Infamy a Year Later

January 3, 2022

January 6, 2021, will go down in history as another “day of infamy,” along with December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001, and August 24, 1814, when the British burned the Capitol. The difference is that the other attacks came from the outside. Last year’s was from the inside—our own citizens doing their best to trash a symbol of democracy and disrupt a lawful process required by our Constitution, and apparently proud of it. We have done this to ourselves and reached a profoundly dangerous point from which we have yet to recover.

Perhaps it should be those uncivilized and separatist individuals who need to be taught what it is like to be an American as opposed to being another expression of Naziism, the tribal behavior that declares some humans to more worthy than other humans and can only lead to confrontation and violence.

Pluralism as a way of thinking emerged with the ancient Greeks. The philosophers Democritus and Epicurus posited a “plurality of worlds.” The historians Herodotus and Xenophon emphasized the cultural differences between Greeks, Egyptians and Persians. The history of human civilization across the ensuing centuries confirmed the Greeks’ view of life as the interaction of diverse ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural groups.

In the American context, the development of pluralism as an idea is intertwined with questions of democracy, religion, race and ethnicity, and assimilation.

The founders set out to create a political system that could accommodate a multitude of different groups and interests while producing collective agreements that commanded allegiance. …
The reconciliation of contending identities and loyalties is an ongoing challenge. In a democracy, the just balance between freedom and equality is part of a never-ending discussion. The pact that holds plural societies together requires agreement and consensus on certain principles: respect for different ethnic and cultural groups and for the rights of individuals, and a commitment to counter prejudice and discrimination with support for the values associated with toleration. We would like this project to raise awareness of the contributions made to American society by ethnic minorities and immigrant groups, and to increase understanding of both the unique and shared experiences of all Americans.

It always impresses me how fast these simple concepts become incredibly complex when we start looking into them. Funny that . . .

*Following this Pathway, participants seek answers to questions, such as “What does it mean to be an American?” “What does it mean to be a citizen?” “How is American identity forged in the context of a complex pluralistic society?”

They examine how the legal standards and political ideals enshrined in America’s founding documents and symbols help form that identity.
They also explore the ways the diverse values and beliefs Americans hold influence our sense of national identity and the core norms of civil society.*

Concepts and Topics

  • defining U.S. citizenship under law/14th Amendment
  • use of law and legal system to address changing values of American identity and pluralism
  • law and popular culture
  • relationship of law to custom, norms, and values
  • history of immigration law and policy
  • fundamental values and principles of constitutional democracy
  • law and symbols of American identity (flags, pledge of allegiance, Constitution, official motto,
  • citizenship oath, loyalty oaths, passports, Liberty Bell)

Those of us who’ve grown up inhabiting a more magnanimous live and let live attitude towards how we interact with others simply can’t grasp the scared, clueless *(to relevant scientific information on every level)*people who’ve never learned to think for themselves, people desperate to be acknowledged and told what they want to hear. Frustration driven, being frothed into anger and rage -

I’ve come to realize Trump provided a show - and people who don’t want to learn or be challenged, who only want affirmation. They are putty in the hands of the manipulators and brainwashers. While the DNC doesn’t confront and expose the tactics along with offering strategies for better defining ourselves and our goals.

Which includes engaging and reinvigorating their grassroots with a clearer more coherent message.

This, during a year that should have every Democracy loving American energized and looking for how they can best participate in the coming election, it’s frightening.

After all, more than anything this election will be about the future of open and fair elections in the USA. Beyond that, it’s going to be a national referendum between the importance of honesty and truth in America’s public dialogue vs. a descent into anger driven anarchy. No exaggeration, simply pay attention to how the Republican Party has been engaging in every imaginable dirty trick to stymie future election participation and voting legitimacy.

Successful politicians require strong, informed, proactive support at their backs if they are to lead, yet the DNC seems to be doing little to nurture that sort of buy-in from their grassroots. Why?

1 Like

Yes, the dotard and his cronies planted their guy. I and others just rooted for Judge Jackson. There is a big difference. Also, Boy Blunthead and Posh Pauley et al were being pure racists. IF they were to have another woman, they want another one who will bow down to them and kiss their butts, just like Barrett. Barrett obeys her story book, which says “Christ is the head of this house.” and “Wives obey your husbands”. She obeys all men, especially Repug men, thus why she was pushed through because they know she will do their bidding. Judge Jackson will not do their bidding.