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Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies

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The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, founded in 1982, is a group of 60,000 "lawyers, law students, and academic "conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order." It is organized into divisions and chapters. On law school campuses across the United States, chapters of the "Student Division" and "Faculty Division" foster conversations about conservatism and libertarianism. The "Lawyers Division" says brings "together attorneys, business and policy leaders, judges and others interested in examining and improving the state of the law.""[1][2]

Founded in 1982 by law students from elite universities, The Federalist Society aimed "to challenge what they considered to be the neglect of conservative and libertarian ideas in the American legal system" according to The Daily Beast. It now has an "enormous" influence on the American legal system and has been credited as being "the conservative pipeline to the Supreme Court."[3][4]

The Federalist Society is an associate member of the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN) [5]

History

Law students from Yale, Harvard, and the University of Chicago founded the Federalist Society in 1982 with the mission to fill what they saw as a void of conservatism influence in the American judicial system.[4] Many of the original members and founders went on to take influential conservative legal posts -- George W. Bush Solicitor General Theodore Olson, Northwestern University Law Professor Steven G. Calabresi, Reagan's Attorney General Edward Meese, George W. Bush's Energy Secretary and Acting-Attorney General Spencer Abraham and Peter Keisler respectively, Former Member of Congress and Club for Growth President David M. McIntosh and Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

The organization grew in size and influence. The Federalist Society has shaped in part every Republican president since Ronald Reagan's judicial selections.[12][3]

Mission and Activities

  • The Society is "committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks to promote awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities."
  • The Society provides a "forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, academics, and the architects of public policy,... [and] has redefined the terms of legal debate.... Overall, the Society's efforts are improving our present and future leaders' understanding of the principles underlying American law."
  • "The Society is a membership organization that features a Student Division, a Lawyers Division, and a newly-established Faculty Division. The Student Division includes more than 5,000 law students at approximately 145 ABA-accredited law schools, including all of the top twenty law schools. The national office provides speakers and other assistance to the chapters in organizing their lectures, debates, and educational activities.
"The Lawyers Division is comprised of over 20,000 legal professionals and others interested in current intellectual and practical developments in the law. It has active chapters in sixty cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Indianapolis. Activities include the annual National Lawyers Convention, a Speakers Bureau for organizing lectures and debates, and 15 Practice Groups.
"The Federalist Society established its Faculty Division in early 1999 with a conference that was attended by many of the rising stars in the legal academy. The objective of the Faculty Division is to provide events and other tools to help encourage constructive academic discourse. This encouragement will help foster the growth and development of rigorous traditional legal scholarship.
  • "Finally, the Federalist Society provides opportunities for effective participation in the public policy process. The Society's ongoing programs encourage our members to involve themselves more actively in local, state-wide, and national affairs and to contribute more productively to their communities."

News and Controversies

U.S. Senate Confirms John Bush to 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Bush to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in spite of his controversial blog postings opposing "same-sex marriage, questioning former President Obama’s citizenship and comparing abortion to slavery." [13] John Bush is listed as an Expert with the Federalist Society. [14]

The Federalist Society's Influence on Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court Nomination

Leonard Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society, [15] is believed to have played a significant role in Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court Nomination. According to Jeffrey Toobin, "Leo’s role in the nomination capped a period of extraordinary influence for him and for the Federalist Society. During the Administration of George W. Bush, Leo also played a crucial part in the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito." [16]

Efforts to Impeach President Barack Obama

On May 7, 2014, Hon. David M. McIntosh's opening remarks at the Federalist Society's Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference focused on three questions about executive overreach: "1. Are we really a society governed by laws and not men? 2. Has the balance of power tipped from the Congress and the judiciary to the President? And, has it tipped too far? 3. How secure are our basic freedoms and fundamental liberties as American citizens?" [17] Jeffrey Toobin reported in the New Yorker that the intent of the meeting was to establish legal grounds for Barack Obama's impeachment. [18] Toobin quoted Charles Cooper as saying, "“The threshold question is whether President Obama’s serial violations of separations of powers satisfies the constitutional standard for impeachment. Has he committed … ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’? I believe there is little doubt that he has.” [18] Hon. Charles J. Cooper is listed as an Expert with the Federalist Society, and his legal practice focuses on "the areas of constitutional, commercial, and civil rights litigation." [19]

The Federalist Society and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Launch NGOwatch.org

The Federalist Society the American Enterprise Institute, have launched the website NGOWatch.org to increase transparency. According to NGOWatch, "In a society that demands greater transparency, AEI and the Federalist Society launched NGOWATCH.ORG. This site provides policymakers, the media, and the public with a monitoring tool that captures the complexity of the fast evolving world of NGOs and the multiplicity of issues a stake in an effort to bring accountability to the NGO sector" [20]

Membership of John G. Roberts, Jr.

In July 2005, shortly after being nominated by President Bush to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. was noted as being a member of the group. The White House has sought to have the major media organizations run corrections stating that Roberts was not a member of the group, but the Washington Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.[21]

Involvement in Supreme Court Appointment of William Reinquist

In November 2004, The Hill reported on "a sophisticated, multipronged plan," being developed by Senate Republicans, "to confirm President Bush's expected nomination to replace ailing Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist." The Federalist Society was given a distinct role in the plan, to "provide substantive arguments for use in Senate and media debates." Much of the communications plan was geared to "deflect liberal efforts to define the nominee." [1]

Ties to the Koch Brothers

On March 21, 2017, Eric Lipton discussed how the Koch brothers are using philanthropic donations to conservative non-profit organizations, including the Federalist Society, as a way to influence the U.S. judicial system. [22]

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Federalist Society lists several organizational Experts who have previously worked for and/or are current ALEC members. [23] [24] [25] [26]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Ties to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

On May 5, 2017, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Bradley Foundation has directed millions of dollars into several conservative groups, including the Federalist Society, in an effort to influence legislative and gubernatorial elections.[27]

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Ties to the State Policy Network

The Federalist Society is an associate member of the right-wing State Policy Network. SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 49 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of March 2019, SPN's membership totals 162. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[28]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[29]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[30]

Publications and Podcasts

Publications

Practice Groups Podcasts

Funding

Between 1985 and 2014, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies and Federalist Society received $52,638,789 in donations. [45]

Top Donors (1985-2015):

  • Ed Uihlein Family Foundation - $650,000 (1985-2014) [47]
  • F.M. Kirby Foundation - $605,000 (1985-2014) [47]

Core Financials

2016 [50]

  • Total Revenue: $20,415,065
  • Total Expenses: $18,233,517
  • Net Assets: $2,181,487

2015 [51]

  • Total Revenue: $26,598,995
  • Total Expenses: $15,863,052
  • Net Assets: $25,863,052

2014 [52]

  • Total Revenue: $18,197,898
  • Total Expenses: $15,077,690
  • Net Assets: $14,914,760

2013 [52]

  • Total Revenue: $17,823,780
  • Total Expenses: $13,935,875
  • Net Assets: $11,912,489

2012 [52]

  • Total Revenue: $13,721,279
  • Total Expenses: $13,356,819
  • Net Assets: $8,270,625

2011 [52]

  • Total Revenue: $13,619,720
  • Total Expenses: $13,128,249
  • Net Assets: $7,766,434

Board of Directors

Board of Directors as of July 2017 [53]

  • Prof. Steven G. Calabresi, Chairman
  • Hon. David M. McIntosh, Vice Chairman
  • Prof. Gary Lawson, Secretary
  • Mr. Brent O. Hatch, Treasurer
  • Hon. T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., Counselor
  • Hon. C. Boyden Gray
  • Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President
  • Hon. Edwin Meese, III
  • Mr. Eugene B. Meyer, President
  • Hon. Michael B. Mukasey
  • Hon. Lee Liberman Otis, Senior Vice President
  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

Former Board of Directors:

  • Prof. Steven G. Calabresi, Chairman
  • Hon. David M. McIntosh, Vice Chairman
  • Brent O. Hatch, Treasurer
  • Hon. T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., Counselor
  • Hon. C. Boyden Gray
  • Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President
  • Prof. Gary Lawson, Director, Secretary
  • Eugene B. Meyer, President
  • Hon. Edwin Meese III
  • Hon. Michael B. Mukasey
  • Hon. Lee Liberman Otis, Senior Vice President

Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors as of July 2017 [54]

  • Mr. Christopher DeMuth, Co-Chairman
  • Hon. Orrin Hatch, Co-Chairman
  • Prof. Lillian BeVier
  • Mr. George T. Conway III
  • Hon. Lois Haight Herrington
  • Hon. Donald Paul Hodel
  • Hon. Frank Keating II
  • Mr. Robert A. Levy
  • Hon. Gale Norton
  • Hon. Theodore B. Olson
  • Mr. Andrew J. Redleaf
  • Hon. Wm. Bradford Reynolds
  • Ms. Diana Davis Spencer
  • Mr. Theodore W. Ullyot
  • Hon. Gerald Walpin

Former Board of Visitors:

  • Christopher DeMuth, Co-Chairman
  • Hon. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Co-Chairman
  • Hon. Orrin G. Hatch, Co-Chairman
  • Professor Lillian BeVier
  • Hon. Elaine L. Chao
  • George T. Conway
  • Hon. Lois Haight Herrington
  • Hon. Donald Paul Hodel
  • Hon. Frank Keating, II
  • Robert A. Levy
  • Hon. Gale Norton
  • Hon. Theodore B. Olson
  • Andrew J. Redleaf
  • Hon. William Bradford Reynolds
  • Diana Davis Spencer
  • Gerald Walpin

Staff

As of July 2018[55]

Executive

  • Eugene B. Meyer, President
  • Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President (on leave)
  • Lee Liberman Otis, Senior Vice President & Director, Faculty Division

Administration

  • Shiza Francis, Assistant Director, Office of the Executive VP
  • * C. David Smith, Vice President & Director, Information Technology
  • Amy Harper, Assistant Director, Finance
  • Maria Marshall, Director of Operations, Office of the Executive VP
  • Rhonda Moaland, Office Manager
  • Douglas C. Ubben, Vice President & Director, Finance

Article One Initiative

  • Nathan Kaczmarek, Director, Article I Initiative

Conferences

  • Juli A. Nix, Director, Conferences

Development and Grants

  • Stuart Beckett, Associate Director, Development
  • Ann Hartley, Grants Administrator, Development
  • Cynthia Searcy, Vice President & Director, Development
  • Jon T. Staab, Deputy Director, Development

Digital

  • Jennifer DeMarco, Assistant Director, Digital Strategy
  • Daniel T. Richards, Vice President & Director, Digital
  • Samantha Schroeder, Deputy Director, Digital Production
  • Matt Wood, Director, Film & Photography
  • Alex Yershov, Assistant Director, Digital Production

External Relations

  • Jonathan Bunch, Vice President & Director, External Relations
  • Elizabeth A. Cirri, Associate Director, External Relations

Faculty Division

  • Anthony M. Deardurff, Deputy Director, Faculty Division
  • Brigid C. Flaherty, Assistant Director, Faculty Division
  • Jennifer Weinberg, Associate Director, Faculty Division

International Affairs

  • James P. Kelly, Director (of counsel), International Affairs
  • Paul F. Zimmerman, Deputy Director, International Affairs

Membership and Alumni Relations

  • Paige Williams, Director, Membership & Alumni Relations
  • Samuel Winkler, Membership Coordinator, Membership & Alumni Relations

Practice Groups

  • Laura Flint, Deputy Director, Practice Groups
  • Wesley G. Hodges, Associate Director, Practice Groups
  • Erica E. Munkwitz, Deputy Director, Practice Groups
  • Dean Reuter, General Counsel | Vice President & Director, Practice Groups
  • Micah Wallen, Assistant Director, Practice Groups

Publications

  • Katie McClendon, Director, Publications

Regulatory Transparency Project

  • Colton Graub, Colton Graub

Associate Director, Regulatory Transparency Project

  • Devon Westhill, Devon Westhill Director, Regulatory Transparency Project

State Courts

  • Peter Bisbee, Director, State Courts

Student Division,

  • Kate Beer Alcantara, Deputy Director, Student Division
  • Kamron N. Kompani Deputy Director, Student Division

Lawyers Chapters

  • Peter K. Redpath, Vice President & Director, Student Division

Contact

EIN: 36-3235550

The Federalist Society
1776 I Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 822-8138
Fax: (202) 296-8061
Email: info@fed-soc.org

Website: http://www.fed-soc.org/
FedSoc Blog: http://www.fed-soc.org/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Federalist.Society
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FedSoc
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-federalist-society

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2016

2015

2014

References

  1. The Federalist Society, About Us: Our Purpose, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  2. The Federalist Society, FAQ Archived from May 2018, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jeffrey Toobin The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court The New Yorker April 17 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 David Fontana [A Small Right-Wing Conspiracy: The Federalist Society https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-small-right-wing-conspiracy-the-federalist-society]The Daily Beast June 6 2013
  5. State Policy Network, Directory, Washington, DC: Associates", SPN website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  6. Jason DeParle [Debating the Subtle Sway of the Federalist Society https://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/01/politics/politicsspecial1/debating-the-subtle-sway-of-the-federalist.html] The New York Times Aug 1, 2017
  7. James Oliphant Giuliani hitches star to conservative legal group The Chicago Tribune Sept. 6 2007
  8. LAWRENCE BAUM and NEAL DEVINS The Federalist Society Majority Slate July 6 2018
  9. Thomas Edsall Federalist Society Becomes a Force in Washington The Washington Post April 18 2001
  10. Jeff Blumenthal Former Bush cabinet member joins Philadelphia law firm The Philadelphia Business Journal May 9 2016
  11. Ezra Klien Peter Keisler is Worse Oct. 20 2017
  12. Lawrence Baum and Neal DevinsFederalist Courts Slate Jan 31 2017
  13. Ryland Barton, Senate Confirms Controversial Louisville Lawyer To Appeals Court, WFPL News Louisville, July 20, 2017.
  14. The Federalist Society, Experts: John Bush, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  15. The Federalist Society, Leonard A. Leo, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  16. Jeffrey Toobin, The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court, The New Yorker, April 17, 2017 Issue.
  17. Federalist Society, Welcome & Opening Address by Tom Cotton - Event Audio/Video, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Jeffrey Toobin, The Federalist Impeachment Party, The New Yorker, May 12, 2014.
  19. The Federalist Society, Hon. Charles J. Cooper, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  20. NGOWatch, About NGOWatch, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017,
  21. Washington Post, WP: Roberts a Member of Federalist Society, MSNBC, accessed 2014.
  22. Juan González, Amy Goodman, and Eric Lipton, Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary, Democracy Now!', March 21, 2017.
  23. The Federalist Society, Experts: Daniel R. Simmons, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  24. The Federalist Society, Experts: Hon. Chris Hagenow, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  25. The Federalist Society, Experts: Hon. Phil King, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  26. The Federalist Society, Experts: Seth L. Cooper, Organizational website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  27. Daniel Bice, Hacked records show Bradley Foundation taking its conservative Wisconsin model national, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 5, 2017.
  28. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  29. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  30. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  31. The Federalist, Papers, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  32. The Federalist, Publications, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  33. The Federalist, Federalist Society Review, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  34. The Federalist, The Federalist Paper, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  35. The Federalist, White Papers, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  36. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts: 2017, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  37. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2016, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  38. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2015, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  39. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2014, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  40. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2013, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  41. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2012, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  42. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2011, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  43. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2010, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  44. The Federalist, Practice Groups Podcasts from 2009, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  45. Conservative Transparency,Total Value Of Contributions: Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Conservative Transparency website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  46. SourceWatch, Contributions of the Bradley Foundation, SourceWatch website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  47. 47.00 47.01 47.02 47.03 47.04 47.05 47.06 47.07 47.08 47.09 47.10 47.11 47.12 47.13 Conservative Transparency, Top Supporters of Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies and Federalist Society, Conservative Transparency website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  48. SourceWatch, Koch Family Foundations, SourceWatch website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  49. 49.0 49.1 SourceWatch, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch website, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  50. DeSmogBlog, Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies 2016 990, DocumentCloud, Accessed July 25, 2018.
  51. DeSmogBlog, Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies 2015 990, DocumentCloud, Accessed July 25, 2018.
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 ProPublica, Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, Accessed July 25, 2017.
  53. The Federalist Society, Board of Directors, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  54. The Federalist Society, Board of Visitors, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.
  55. The Federalist Society, Staff, Organizational website, Accessed July 24, 2017.