What I do hold against her is that she has been part of a different group — one far more powerful than a religious organization: The Federalist Society. Barrett was a member from 2005-06 and 2014-17. She ended her membership when she joined the appeals court, but she continues to be a panelist and speaker at Federalist Society events.
Having studied the group, Whitehouse has concluded, “The evidence is that the Federalist Society is funded by massive, secret contributions from corporate right-wing groups that have big agendas before the courts.” Citing reporting by the Washington Post, Whitehouse and fellow Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) claim Federalist co-chair Leonard Leo, “is at the heart of a network of more than two dozen right-wing nonprofit entities — groups that raised over $250 million between 2014 and 2017 alone…to promote far-right policies and legal doctrines and the judicial nominees who advance them.”
The analysis suggests that more than a quarter of all Federalist funding flows through a group called Donors Trust, whose “structure hides the real identities of politically motivated megadonors.”
Whitehouse is a former federal prosecutor and Attorney General of Rhode Island. He is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. When Judge Barrett comes before that committee, expect more fireworks about her being part of the Federalist Society than any religious group. After all, many of us believe in an all-powerful God. Few believe in an all-powerful corporation. But those few seem to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting the members of the Supreme Court.
“Our opponents of judicial nominees frequently claim the president has outsourced his selection of judges. That is completely false,” McGahn said. “I’ve been a member of the Federalist Society since law school — still am. So, frankly, it seems like it’s been insourced.”
So much for not legislating from the bench.
Judge Barrett’s selection may prove to be a big win for the base of Trump’s party — and by “base,” I do not refer to the people who wear MAGA hats and risk their lives at Covid-19 super-spreader rallies. The real base: corporate powers who hide in the shadows and have nothing but contempt for those MAGA folks.
Those shadowy corporate interests are the winners in the Barrett selection. Judge Barrett could form a phalanx of Federalist icons that includes Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. Together they will have the power to make corporate interests even more dominant. The rest of us will simply be their handmaidens.