It’s peculiar. We’re supposed to have a separation of church and state, but somehow we’ve ended up with not just a religious court, but a sectarian religious court. The answer, obviously, is money. Someone or someones has been skewing the court rightwards by sinking lots of money into it — buying the law, basically. But who?
Meet Neil and Ann Corkery, a pair of veteran Republican operatives who have cultivated a robust network of conservative and Catholic-affiliated nonprofits, charities and funds notable for their near-total opacity. For more than a decade, the Corkerys have leveraged this network to prop up conservative judicial nominees, most of whom have been devout Catholics. Robert Maguire, research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told Salon that “while most Americans wouldn’t recognize their names,” the Corkerys “have been the overseers of massive amounts of money that have gone into federal judicial races.”
“They have the discipline to not talk,” Maguire explained, acknowledging the dearth of reporting on the duo. “They don’t have social media accounts. They don’t give public speeches. They’ve done a really good job of limiting the amount of public information on them.”
We do, however, know bits and pieces. It’s likely that the Corkery empire started around 2008, when Ann Corkery, a partner at the Washington law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, established the now defunct Wellspring Committee, a 501(c)(4) organization that took in tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds, of millions, from undisclosed donors for upwards of a decade. Wellspring was founded with the help of Charles and David Koch, and raised its first $10 million seedling donation from attendees at a Koch donor seminar.
The scary thing about the Corkerys is that they were smart enough to keep quiet about what they were doing, while cunningly recruiting millionaire donors to fund a campaign to make sure Catholics are packing the judiciary. They’re organizing horrid little pissant billionaires like the Kochs, and focusing interest in a particular direction. The worst thing to have is a clever enemy.
The Corkerys’ political influence, as Maguire pointed out, has a highly specific orientation rooted in religious faith. “When you look at the way money has flowed through the groups [Wellspring] is affiliated with,” he explained, “you see a long history of supporting groups that fought against marriage equality and anti-abortion.”
In 1990, the Corkerys gave an interview to the South Florida Sun Sentinel describing themselves as members of Opus Dei, an enigmatic and highly secretive society within the Catholic Church. According to a 2013 investigative report from the liberal group Catholics for Choice, members of Opus Dei “vehemently oppose legislation that allows divorce or civil marriages, as well as homosexuality and contraception.” Critics have also alleged that the group has internally supported various authoritarian world leaders.
If you’ve ever wondered how unqualified incompetents like Kavanaugh and Barrett ended up on the highest court in the land, just look at the Corkerys and their influence.
Hooray for Democracy, where it’s not people who shape the leadership, but the dollars that vote.
call me mark says
How do these [m,b]illionaires who claim to be Christians reconcile their wealth with “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”?
This morning, still in my not quite awake mode, I read https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article265261411.html from the Miami Herald primarily about Ron DeSantis, “Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left’s schemes. You will face flaming arrows, but if you have the shield of faith, you will overcome them, and in Florida we walk the line here”. People are no longer ashamed of Christian nationalism. Republicans have long been calling their opposition evil, now they are saying that anyone who disagrees with them is against God. It has nothing to do with religion or any god for them, but people like DeSantis see it as a winning strategy.
Answer: because the candidates comitted perjury during the confirmation hearings, in the secure knowledge there would be no consequences.
And because the Democrats in the senate are eunuchs who mostly care about their big donors.
Reginald Selkirk says
But why are they specifically Catholic? Because the deepest sources for “social conservatives” are the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Protestants. And the Protestants are more likely to be anti-education, and therefore not receive the training necessary to become a judge.
Reginald Selkirk says
We should just start calling them illionaires.
I do wonder how much someone affiliated with these groups funnels into stoking Q threads because the fact that it is a community obsessed with conspiracy theories and secret cabals controlling the world and yet not a single peep from them about actual documented nefarious actions by conservative groups seems… odd.
I read a Q Anon kook just shot and killed his family.
Akira MacKenzie says
1) It is by Gawd’s will that they are “blessed” with obscene wealth.
2) All commies are atheists, therefore a good Christian must be a capitalist.
Akira MacKenzie says
Yup. Shot is wife, his daughter, and even his dog! Then he went out to do battle with the forces of the Deep State by firing on police.
You can guess how that confrontation ended.
If he had just started by shooting at the police, it would have been a straightforward Darwin award without great loss to society.
-The paranoia and fear is an essential ingredience in maintaining the status quo, but now the process has gotten away from the instigators.
First, it is a misstep to apply reason to anything biblical.
Second, all Christians (which includes Catholics, some Christians dispute this) are very good at reading the parts to the Bible they like and ignoring the parts that conflict with the parts that they like. This is a key skill in order to be a Christian (how else could there be over 40,000 flavors of Christianity).
Third, pointing out the logical conflicts will eventually make you an outcast, heretic, etc. This step helps protect the flock from too much education among other dangers to the community.
Toanswer the title question :
Yes because of what PZ wrote in the OP & also what #3 birgerjohansson wrote and because the anti-Democratic Electoral College (along with other things incl Comey & Assanges interventions and Murdoch’s decades long misogynist slander campiagn & the Berniebros too) robbed the Amercian people of seeing their collective wishes for Hillary Rodham Clinton rather than Trump becoming POTUS in 2016.
HRC would NOT have appointed regressive misogynist blatantly partisan SCOTUS injustices like Trump did.
Jim Balter says
Um, ever heard of Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society? It’s mindboggling that there is no previous mention of them here.
Jim Balter says
From Leonard Leo’s Wikipedia page:
[It’s now 2/3]