cover image The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court

The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court

Sheldon Whitehouse, with Jennifer Mueller. New Press, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62097-738-5

Rhode Island senator Whitehouse (Captured) delivers an alarming if familiar account of efforts to install conservative judges on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. Behind this scheme, Whitehouse alleges, are “a handful of corporate oligarchs” who paved the way for the Supreme Court to advance a “far-right agenda” that includes “unleashing massive amounts of dark money, impeding citizens from voting, allowing corporations to dodge lawsuits and liability, undermining civil rights, and denying individuals access to juries.” Whitehouse details how the Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision kicked the conservative judicial movement into high gear by allowing anonymous groups to spend “unlimited money” to promote judicial nominees who would be willing to gut federal regulatory standards. The Federalist Society, a conservative law group created in the 1980s as a “counterweight to what [its founders] viewed as liberal orthodoxy at law schools,” became a launching pad for “proven conservatives” to reach the federal bench; Whitehouse suggests that the Koch brothers only dropped their objections to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy when he put Federalist Society “fixer” Leonard Leo in charge of identifying Supreme Court candidates. Though Whitehouse gathers copious evidence and strikes a fiery tone, he doesn’t break new ground. This polemic works best at establishing its author’s partisan bona fides. [em](Oct.) [/em]