WASHINGTON, DC – Following today’s decision by two Eighth Circuit judges that threw voting protections into legal jeopardy, Accountable.US released new research exposing the judges’ ties to conservative kingpin Leonard Leo. If upheld, the move by Judges David Stras and Raymond Gruender would block Americans’ ability to sue to enforce key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
This deeply flawed decision was bought, paid for, and masterminded by Leonard Leo. Leo knows if Americans are empowered to vote, his vision for our country will never be realized. Instead, he stacks the federal judiciary — all the way up to the Supreme Court — with extremist judges willing to do his bidding," said Accountable.US president Caroline Ciccone.
The new research reveals that both Judges Stras and Gruender appeared on Leonard Leo’s personally-curated shortlist of suggested Supreme Court nominees given to former President Donald Trump long before he entered office. Leo’s recommendation was a result of his network’s long-standing relationships with the two judges – both of whom had long served as contributors to Leo’s Federalist Society.
Leo’s network even assisted in Judge Stras’ confirmation to the Eighth Circuit in 2017, launching a supportive ad buy through the Judicial Crisis Network, Leo’s central vehicle for his conservative court capture campaign.
Today’s decision is poised to make its way to the high court, where Leo’s closest allies have already demonstrated their willingness to chip away at the Voting Rights Act, reinstating hurdles to voting for millions of Americans and undermining democracy.