Supreme Court Watchdog Groups Are Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
For years, the Left has been determined to undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court and attack justices committed to upholding the Constitution. Recall the court packing efforts by Democrats only a few years ago. We should have known then that left-wing efforts to exert political control over the Court wouldn’t stop there.
Indeed, recent reporting shows the Left has a new weapon in its arsenal aimed squarely at the Supreme Court: so-called watchdog organizations that pose as non-partisan groups advocating for stricter ethical standards, but are in fact on an overtly political mission.
The Left Has a New Weapon Aimed Squarely at the Supreme Court
Tax disclosures reveal that these self-described nonpartisan organizations targeting conservative justices over their financial dealings are funded by left-wing activist organizations. Arabella Advisors, the largest dark-money consulting firm aligned with the Democratic Party, supplied these “accountability” organizations with millions of dollars in 2022 through its sprawling network of liberal-funded nonprofits. Arabella hides behind these seemingly independent groups in its covert attempts to remake the composition of our nation’s highest court.
One Arabella-funded organization, http://Accountable.US, called for “Clarence Thomas’s immediate resignation in the face of a growing Supreme Court corruption crisis.” The Left has relentlessly smeared Justice Thomas since his confirmation hearings decades ago, in large part due to his originalist jurisprudence but also because of his race. Driven by identity politics, the Left cannot accept that skin color need not dictate judicial philosophy. Now, they have reached a new low, using faux watchdog groups to mount unfair and targeted attacks on him.
In fact, http://Accountable.US acquired more than $2 million in 2022 from Arabella’s New Venture Fund — a sum no doubt spent on efforts to unfairly condemn justices with whom they disagree.
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
The Left has also coopted purported investigative journalism publications, which pose as independent, but like http://Accountable.US, are bankrolled by political ideologues operating in secret.
ProPublica, which deems itself “an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force,” refuses to disclose anonymous donors providing millions in support to the organization. Some of ProPublica’s donors are also known to have attended an exorbitant salon fundraising dinner at the home of a member of ProPublica’s board of directors.
In June 2023, ProPublica unfairly accused Justice Samuel Alito of failing to list some items as gifts on his 2008 Financial Disclosure Report. They left out the important fact, however, that ethics rules governing the reporting of gifts had recently changed.
Justice Alito was forced to come to his own defense in the Wall Street Journal. Retired Justice Breyer defended Justice Thomas. All of the Justices together recently issued a “Code of Conduct,” citing the “misunderstanding” that they operate “unrestricted by any ethics rules” when in fact they have long abided by a set of ethical principles. Meanwhile, Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland has neglected his duty to defend them from unprecedented harassment or assassination. These supposed Court watchdog groups’ alarm bells go suspiciously silent any time a liberal-leaning justice appears to violate ethics rules — a fact which alone should have been enough to raise questions about their objectivity. To take just one example, Justice Stephen Breyer, who resigned from his position on the Court in 2022, traveled more than any other Supreme Court justice between 2004 and 2018. OpenSecrets revealed that many of his trips were financially supported by the wealthy Pritzker family, known for their generous donations to Democratic causes. In 2019, Breyer also failed to recuse himself from a United Technologies case, despite owning stock in the company. Breyer’s repeated conflicts of interests occurred without any repercussions from these “nonpartisan” groups.
The Left’s Latest Tool Must Be Exposed
The Left is engaging in a brazen attempt to exert political control over the Court. Their watchdog groups, deceitfully branded as defenders of good government, accountability and transparency, cannot be allowed to undermine the impartiality of the American judiciary and by extension, the foundation of our free and democratic republic. For years, the Left has been desperately utilizing any means available to interfere with the independence of the Supreme Court. Their latest tool, so-called independent watchdog groups, must be exposed to the public in no uncertain terms for what they are: wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell is Chairman of the Conservative Action Project and Vice President of the Council for National Policy.