Thursday, August 16, 2001 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Skull and Bones: A Conversation with the First Outsider...
2001-08-16

The Federalist Society: The Right-Wing Legal Group Boasts Some of the Highest Officials Ofthe Bush Administration

download:   Get CD/DVD More Formats
DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

The Federalist Society, a right-wing legal group, entered the radar screens of many Democrats and Progressives aroundthe time of the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who led theWhitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations, was active in the group, as well as many lawyers in his office and thelawyers who worked on the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

But under the Bush Administration, the group has risen to unprecedented levels of power.

Three Cabinet secretaries are active supporters of the Federalist Society — John D. Ashcroft at Justice, Gale A.Norton at Interior and Spencer Abraham at Energy. During the first 100 days of his presidency, President Bush hasdismantled workplace safety standards, reversed a campaign pledge on imposing new carbon dioxide emission standards,and says he plans to open up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Members of the Federalist Society have also gained considerable influence in the legal arm of the administration.Ted Olson, the head of the group’s Washington chapter, argued the Bush case in the Florida battle for the presidencylast fall. He is now solicitor general. And other members of the society — including Larry D. Thompson, the deputyattorney general — are playing a central role in a 15-member special White House-Justice Department committeepicking candidates to fill openings in the federal district and appeals courts. The Society won a major victory afew weeks ago, when President Bush stripped the American Bar Association of its role in rating judicial candidates.Since 1996, the society has published "ABA Watch," documenting the ABA’s liberal stands on abortion, the deathpenalty and gun control.

The Federalist Society was formed 20 years ago by a handful of conservative law students who felt they were abeleaguered minority at their elite schools, isolated and disdained in a liberal intellectual environment. Foryears, small chapters of the Society met on college campuses, trying to inject their right-wing ideas into themainstream. Now, with a membership of 25,000, the organization has chapters in 60 cities, along with studentchapters at 150 of the nation’s 182 accredited law schools. Major supporters include conservative foundations,including the John M. Olin Foundation ($376,000), the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($ 175,000) and the Lynde and HarryBradley Foundation ($ 135,000).

Guest:

  • Al Ross, Director of the Institute for Democracy Studies, former head of the International and NationalResearch for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Related link:

Recent Shows More

Full News Hour

Stories

    2014-0730_siegman1
    "A Slaughter of Innocents": Henry Siegman, a Venerable Jewish Voice for Peace, on Gaza
    Today, a special with Henry Siegman, the former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Henry Siegman was born in 1930 in Frankfurt, Germany. Three years later, the Nazis came to power. After fleeing Nazi troops in Belgium, his family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement, pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. In...

Headlines

    There are no headlines for this date.


Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.