Amy Coney Barrett Rebuffs Calls for To Recuse From Darkish Cash Case Involving Group That Supported Her Affirmation

Top line

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to withdraw Monday’s case involving a Conservative group that, despite being Democrats, had spent at least $ 1 million on endorsement of its Senate call her to do so because of the alleged conflict of interest.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in on the South Lawn of the White House … [+] October 26, 2020.

Getty Images

Key factors

The Supreme Court opened on Monday Americans for Prosperity Foundation v Rodriquez, a case brought forward by the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation that challenged California’s policy of requiring charities to disclose their donors to the state, which the group allegedly violates the First Amendment.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative advocacy group backed by billionaire David Koch, who is separate from but affiliated with the education-focused foundation, launched a major advertising campaign last year that featured the Senators have been asked to support Barrett’s endorsement said They planned to output “seven-digit numbers”.

Legislators Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), And Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) Had sent Barrett a letter asking them to investigate the case, or at least withdraw the case Publicly state your reasons for doing so and say that hearing the case would conflict with the Supreme Court precedent in the past.

Barrett heard the case on Monday and asked questions to the petitioners and respondents and did not make a public statement regarding their decision.

The judiciary appeared skeptical of California politics, signaling that it would likely be on the side of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation during the hearing, and asked a California state attorney to “assume that I believe these petitioners are have shown considerable strain on politics “imposes their initial adjustment rights.

The Supreme Court has not yet responded to a request for comment on Barrett’s decision not to reuse.

Chief critic

“AFP claims to have played a significant and disproportionate role in the campaign for your confirmation in the Supreme Court while the case of its siblings was pending and imminent,” lawmakers wrote in their letter to Barrett.


In addition to Barrett, AFP has also spent large sums of money to support the endorsements of Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Whitehouse’s office told Forbes last week that Barrett’s need for reuse was “particularly worrying” as its confirmation came while the AFP case was pending.

What to look for

How the Supreme Court will rule on the case. The conservative court seemed possibly likely to stand on the side of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation on Monday, with many of the judges repeatedly cracking down on attorneys defending California politics and expressing skepticism that the donors disclosed to them will never be made public, the organization feared. “Do you think that for someone who wishes to make a significant contribution to an organization that has been accused of being racist or homophobic or white supremacist, it would be reasonable to be chilled in this environment because they have less or no trust ? that your contribution will be treated confidentially? “Judge Clarence Thomas asked an attorney to defend the policy.

Key background

Legislature opposition to Barrett, who is hearing the case, is part of a wider concern about the influence so-called dark money groups have on the court. Whitehouse described the influence of these conservative activist groups and their judicial spending as “a pretty big deal” during Barrett’s confirmation hearing and according to the Senate of experts testimony, conservative activist Leonard Leo spent more than $ 400 million on his campaign to influence the judiciary between 2014 and 2018 alone. Whitehouse and Johnson quarreled at the same time op-ed for Project Syndicate last week that conservative groups like AFP donate money to set up sympathetic judges and then take cases to court and file coordinated amicus briefs as a “final move in a massive court conquest”. “The AFP / AFPF operation’s” sweeping campaign “for your confirmation makes it clear that our judiciary is a target of this massive apparatus of influence,” lawmakers wrote in their letter to Barrett, explaining why they should withdraw from the case.

further reading

Democratic lawmakers are urging Amy Coney Barrett to step back from the Dark Money Case group that supported her endorsement (Forbes)

The Supreme Court appears to be wary of California’s Donor Disclosure Act (The hill)