Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

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

StoryApril 19, 2001
Watch iconWatch Full Show

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:


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.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation