WASHINGTON, DC – As the Supreme Court kicks off its term this week, new reporting from Bloomberg detailed how conservative extremist groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pacific Legal Foundation continue to use deep pockets and dark money networks to force their radical agenda through the Court. The groups help form a broader coalition of far-right extremist organizations working to push an agenda through the courts — an agenda so unpopular they know it can’t be won at the ballot box.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, and Pacific Legal Foundation have both scored numerous victories at the Supreme Court — especially since 2020, when the Court’s conservative supermajority was established.
In the new term, the Supreme Court is set to take up a critical abortion access case in which Alliance Defending Freedom is working to restrict access to a widely-used abortion pill for women everywhere. The Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the court to hear its case claiming a Virginia high school discriminates against Asian American applicants.
Pacific Legal Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom are part of a broader far-right legal movement using the courts to force a dangerous, unpopular agenda on everyday Americans. These groups concoct cases to throw in front of the Supreme Court, knowing they’re likely to deliver radical outcomes in their favor. Some of their sham cases are even based on fake scenarios that never actually happened. For organizations like the Pacific Legal Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom, the ultimate goal is to use litigation to strip Americans of their rights and undermine democracy — and their efforts are being propped up by a shady, dark money network that makes it all possible,” said Accountable.US president Caroline Ciccone.
“…The Supreme Court’s makeup means it’s the conservative ecosystem now pushing cases — and becoming more influential and better-funded than ever. “This is definitely the judicial audience they have needed,” said Josh Wilson, a political scientist at the University of Denver with an expertise in abortion and conservative politics.
Critics say the groups have outsized power and influence at the Supreme Court — and provide almost no insight into who is funding them. Both ADF and PLF are both funded largely by “dark money,” meaning they don’t have to disclose the identities of their donors, thanks in part to the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.”
“Foundations and groups associated with conservative legal activist Leonard Leo, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, and Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway, have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the ADF and groups associated with it, according to their tax filings.
In 2022, the PLF reported over $28 million in total revenue, a roughly 70% increase from 2020. Much of its money comes from groups associated with the Kochs, the billionaire family that controls one of the largest privately owned companies in the US; the late business executive Daniel Searle; and groups associated with Leo. The Kochs have established themselves as prolific donors to conservative and libertarian causes, including a range of small-government groups like PLF.”
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