'Dark money' groups are mobilizing around Biden's nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court
Dark money' groups are jumping into action for Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Courtconfirmation.
- A conservative group said any pick by President
Joe Bidenwould be a "liberal activist" and "rubber stamp" for Democrats.
With President Joe Biden's nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, a bevy of courts-focused special interest groups are jumping into the upcoming confirmation process.
The groups, which do not disclose the root sources of their funding, are already figuring prominently in the ongoing war of words between Democratic and Republican senators. And soon they will welcome themselves into the television, computer, and phone screens of millions of Americans through nonstop broadcast and social media advertising campaigns.
Demand Justice, for its part, is positioned to become the loudest voice of all.
The influential "dark money" group and associated political committee, which has advocated for adding four new seats to the high court, had for months agitated for Justice
A year ago, the group dispatched a billboard truck emblazoned with the words "BREYER, RETIRE" to circle the Supreme Court and send its eldest justice a less than subtle message.
Now that it's got what it wanted, expect its efforts to launch into hyperdrive.
"We expect the Senate will act to confirm Biden's pick quickly but we will do and spend whatever is needed to ensure that ends up being the case," Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon told CNBC earlier this month. "This is a history-making moment to put the first Black woman on the court."
Just minutes after Biden formally introduced Jackson has his Supreme Court nominee, Demand Justice spent $45,000 to run a 30-second advertisement on ABC affiliate station WJLA-TV 7 during Sunday's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
Demand Justice also paid $55,000 to run a 30-second ad on NBC affiliate station WRC-TV 4 in Washington, DC, during Sunday's airing of "Meet the Press," documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission indicate.
Joining Demand Justice in the cacophony of pro- and anti-Jackson voices will be other liberal organizations intent on promoting Jackson to the general public — and the US senators who will vote on her nomination.
Jackson's career "has earned her respect on both sides of the aisle," said Danielle Melfi, executive director of pro-Biden nonprofit Building Back Together, which is likely to spend significant money on Jackson's behalf. "She has been confirmed on a bipartisan basis by the Senate three separate times, and we look forward to seeing her confirmed again."
The court-packing machine
Recent history also holds that several conservative organizations will spend millions of dollars to slam Jackson specifically, and pummel Democrats generally, without ever disclosing their donors, either.
Under the Trump presidency, Republicans' push to fill judicial vacancies revealed the influence of conservative groups such as the
Weeks before Jackson's nomination, the Judicial Crisis Network released a video preemptively attacking Biden's pick as a "liberal activist" and "Biden rubber stamp."
On February 2, the organization said it would spend $2.5 million on an ad campaign in part targeting liberal consulting firm Arabella Advisors, which helps coordinate and connect Democratic fundraising efforts. Arabella Advisors "seeks payback in the form of a Supreme Court nominee who will be a liberal activist," Judicial Crisis Network's campaign asserts.
Judicial Crisis Network's president, Carrie Severino, previously said that the "left bullied Justice Breyer into retirement and now it will demand a justice who rubber stamps its liberal political agenda."
In his own statement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Jackson's record and described her as the "favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself."
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told Insider on Friday that the Judicial Crisis Network has so far spearheaded the Republicans' "armada of 'dark money' groups."
"While we do have 'dark money' funded groups on our side, they don't even compare to the systematic court packing machine that has been created on the Republican side," he told Insider.
Whitehouse, who has scrutinized the influence of "dark money" on the Supreme Court, said the Judicial Crisis Network's effort to cast Biden's nominee as a "democratic stooge of a Democratic dark money organization" resembles "Putin-type mirroring propaganda, in which you accuse your adversary of exactly what you're doing."
Demand Justice emerged in the Trump administration as a liberal counterweight to the network of conservative groups that had long focused on the federal courts. With its signature neon-green lettering, the group mounted online campaigns and other efforts to protest Trump's judicial nominees and advocated for expanding the Supreme Court.
Following the 2020 election, Demand Justice clamored for Breyer to retire and allow Biden to fulfill his campaign pledge to put the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
In response to Biden's selection of Jackson, Fallon described her as a "slam dunk pick for the Supreme Court."
"We are excited to do all we can to support Judge Jackson's speedy confirmation," he said.
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