The George and Helen M. Professor of Law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. One from a group of First Amendment scholars, including Alvaré, received a $30 million prize brokered by Leo in 2016. Turning Point USA was among seven briefs endorsed by individuals or groups associated with Leo, which received $2.75 million from Leo’s 85 funds in 2020.
The overall concentration of conservative amicus briefs in LGBTQ+ rights cases linked to Leo’s network was the highest at 85 percent of the seven cases reviewed. Many were filed by Catholic or Christian nonprofits in favor of a designer plaintiff called 303 Creative.
Two pillars of Leo’s network, The 85 Fund and Concord Fund, awarded $7.8 million between July 2019 and 2021 to companies filing briefs on behalf of 303 Creative LLC.
The Concord Fund is a rebranded group, formerly known as the Judicial Crisis Network, that has spent millions of dollars on campaigns promoting the nominations of conservative judges. 85 Fund is the new name for the Judicial Education Program, a tax-exempt charity that has filed several briefs with the court.
A growing tool
AMicus contractions aren’t just conservatives’ tools. The number of amicus briefs on both sides of the main cases grew significantly After 2010, it happened during court Citizens United The regime ushered in a new era of “dark money” groups like the Leo-aligned JEP.
The volume of amicus briefs seeking to influence the Court increased as both Democratic and Republican-nominated judges came to borrow from them in their opinions. A study published in 2020 In National Law Journal.
In his dissenting opinion in the affirmative action case, liberal Justice Ketanji Brown criticized Jackson. For quoting false information Cited in an amicus brief Association of American Medical Colleges About Mortality rate Florida for newborns.
Among the seven cases and hundreds of briefs reviewed by POLITICO — in addition to abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and affirmative action, the cases cover student loans, environmental protections, voting rights and the doctrine of independent state legislatures — a small advantage for conservative parties, accounting for 50 percent of the amici curiae. It was filed by 46 percent in favor of liberal parties and 4 percent in favor of no party.
While there are a mix of Democratic-affiliated groups that direct money to influence the court, such as the National Democratic Redistricting Commission, which focuses on protecting democracy, demanding justice and voting, and democracy, they are decentralized and often focus on specific issues.
“We don’t have a Federal Reserve or a central bank to go to. not that. You’re measuring two different ecosystems,” said Robert Raben, a former assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under President Bill Clinton and counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.
Given the opacity of Leo’s network, it’s hard to quantify how much money was spent on conservative legal advocacy linked to him. Yet the two leading groups in his financial network, The Concord Fund and The 85 Fund, spent at least $21.5 million between 2011 and 2021 on groups advocating for conservative rulings.
Tax-exempt nonprofit groups must provide the names of their officers and board members on their annual IRS forms. In 15 percent of the summaries reviewed, Leo was a member of leadership, such as a board member, trustee or executive representing filers — or the payers received payment from one of Leo’s groups.
Expanding the circle to include executives who previously served on a Leo-aligned committee, shared board memberships with him, led Federalist Society chapters, or had other professional ties to him, Leo’s network linked to 180 amicus briefs or the majority.