Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Left-Wing Dark-Money Groups Influenced Biden Judicial Nominees

Last week, President Biden announced his first tranche of judicial nominations. The eleven individuals on the list include three nominees for circuit-court seats. (One of them, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was profiled here last Tuesday after she was announced to fill the D.C. Circuit vacancy created by Merrick Garland’s appointment to be attorney general.)

As the Judicial Crisis Network notes in its latest ad, the picks reflect the influence of left-wing dark-money groups, which spent a record-breaking $145 million to elect Joe Biden president.

For anyone in doubt that these groups are getting what they paid for in Biden’s court picks, note the following glowing reviews that immediately followed his announcement:

  • “We commend President Biden for nominating stellar lawyers to serve on our nation’s federal courts. Today’s nominees embody the demographic and professional diversity and forward-thinking that will ensure justice is served to the American people when they enter a courtroom. As we noted in our 2014report, presidents need to do a better job of appointing judges with experience from all corners of the legal profession. Progressives are galvanized around our courts unlike at any point in recent history, which is why 70 groups joined us in issuing a statement of principles calling on the Biden administration to consider judges from this expanded pool of legal professionals.”—Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice
  • “This is an incredibly exciting moment for our courts and our country. President Biden is prioritizing the federal bench by rolling out such a large slate of nominees so early in his term, and is demonstrating his commitment to building a diverse bench of qualified, fair-minded judges with a commitment to equal justice under the law.”—Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way
  • “It will be a long road to fix our courts after the last four years, but today’s announcement is a positive first step to rebuilding our judiciary.”—Russ Feingold, president of American Constitution Society
  • “For too long, our justice system has served some – but not all of us. President Biden today set a new course to make our courts fairer with judges who will recognize the rights of all of us – not just the wealthy and powerful. We need judges who uphold all of our rights, including those of workers, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people; health care access, reproductive freedom, voting rights, and more.”—Lena Zwarensteyn, fair courts campaign senior director, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • “We are extremely pleased with many of this administration’s first judicial picks. . . . We have strongly encouraged the Biden administration to move quickly and boldly in transforming our courts.”—Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP
  • Demand Justice put Ketanji Brown Jackson on their short list for the Supreme Court and just ran an ad touting her as “the entire package in one candidate.”


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