New revelations cause approval to hit record low
WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court, at the center of a growing corruption crisis, is set to deliver a series of crucial decisions over the next week — all while Americans’ approval of the Court hits an all-time low.
These final decisions of the Court’s term will play out against a backdrop of corruption and shady ties that continues to grow with new revelations, leading Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin to announce plans to mark up ethics reform legislation following the July 4th recess.
Last week, ProPublica revealed that Justice Samuel Alito took a luxury fishing trip organized by conservative kingpin Leonard Leo and attended by Paul Singer, a conservative billionaire who later had cases before the Supreme Court. Justice Alito failed to report the lavish trip on his annual financial disclosures, appearing to violate a federal law requiring justices to disclose most gifts. Reporting from CNN then revealed Justice Alito’s and Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s troubling ties to Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Initiative, a group which has filed a series of “friend-of-the-court” briefs in religious liberty cases since its founding in 2020 — and has recently curried favor with the conservative Court.
But these revelations aren’t just one-off examples of shady dealings. Rather, they reveal a broader Court capture scheme headed up by far-right judicial activists like Leonard Leo.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) detailed this decades-long scheme in a recent conversation with The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “…dark-money groups such as the Federalist Society, led for years by Leonard Leo, put together a list of acceptable high court nominees from which President Donald Trump picked three justices. A closely aligned entity, the Judicial Crisis Network, spent millions to help get the justices confirmed (while donating to Senate Republicans to guarantee their support). Leo and others in dark-money groups filed amicus briefs to advance their agenda. And then Leo set up cozy connections between the billionaire donors and the justices for “hospitality” from their “friends.” Leo arranged Alito’s fishing jaunt and helped set up Thomas with billionaire Harlan Crow. If you put together billionaires, dark money and “phony front groups,” you wind up in a “whole new world,” he argued.”
Leonard Leo is himself involved in at least five high-stakes cases set to be decided over the next week, with personal and financial ties to major upcoming decisions including Moore v. Harper and 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
After decades of influence peddling, Leonard Leo is intimately involved in nearly every major decision coming out of this Supreme Court. Leo’s manipulation of the judiciary has led to a systematic roll-back of rights, a full-blown corruption crisis, and ultimately, a rapid decline in public trust in our Court.”