News Release

Judicial Nominees: Implications as Federalist Society Supplants ABA


As President Bush makes appointments to federal courts, the following analysts are available for interviews:

Assistant director of the Institute for Democracy Studies and co-author of the recently-released report “The Federalist Society and the Challenge to a Democratic Jurisprudence,” Gerchik said today: “Behind the tidal wave of new judicial nominees are key organizations poised to sweep away the established principles and institutions of our democratic legal system. The driving force generating this tidal wave is the Federalist Society, which is targeting the courts, the law schools, administrative agencies and the American Bar Association as part of a comprehensive challenge to America’s fundamental Constitutional principles. Led by Robert Bork, Orrin Hatch, Ed Meese, Ted Olson and former Christian Coalition head Don Hodel, the Federalist Society has already removed the ABA from its historic role in the judicial selection process, and is establishing a stronghold in the Department of Justice and the White House Office of Legal Counsel. With 25,000 members and 140 law school chapters, their 15 practice groups in every area of the law drive an agenda challenging everything from affirmative action to the role of key regulatory agencies.”
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Law professor at the University of Illinois, Boyle said today: “The Federalist Society lawyers want to go beyond getting rid of affirmative action. They want to go back to Brown vs. Board of Education. We have Justice Antonin Scalia (who advised the Federalist Society at its inception and later hired two of its three founders as his law clerks); a few years ago he gave a public lecture at Columbia Law School where he stated that if Brown vs. Board of Education was to be presented to him today, he would rule against the plaintiffs…. What we are seeing under the Federalist Society is the judiciary, law schools and legal education being used to promote a right-wing, reactionary political agenda to the detriment of people of color and the poor of our society.”

Bruce Ackerman is professor of law and political science at Yale University. He said today: “Bush has summarily eliminated the American Bar Association from its traditional role in assessing judicial nominees. The ABA has served as an important check against the political appointment of incompetents for half a century.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167