Where did Donald Trump get his original list of Supreme Court candidates? According to a New York Times article in May 2016, "Nan Aron, the president of the liberal Alliance for Justice Action Council, deplored Mr. Trump’s choice of potential justices as “dangerous.”
“The list includes some of the most extreme conservatives on the federal bench today,” she said. “Their opinions demonstrate open hostility to Americans’ rights and liberties, including reproductive justice and environmental, consumer and worker protections. They have ruled consistently in favor of the powerful over everyone else. They would move the needle even further to the right on the Supreme Court.”
Neil Gorsuch wasn't on that original list. His name was among 10 others that was added later.
Now go back in time to the selection of Sarah Palin in September 2008 as John MacCain's running mate. The group behind that selection was the Council for National Policy. I wrote about it at the time.
Who is the Council for National Policy? Max Blumenthal described them in 2008 as "an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy." CNP members in 2008 included Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Grover Norquist, Tim LaHaye and Paul Weyrich. Blumenthal wrote at the time:
"At a secret 2000 meeting of the CNP, George W. Bush promised to nominate only pro-life judges; in 2004, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the group, "The destiny of the nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement." This year, thanks to Sarah Palin's selection, the movement may have finally aligned itself behind the campaign of John McCain.
"The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain's Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might."
Last night I was reading an article by Janet Reitman on Betsy Devos in the Rolling Stone: Betsy DeVos' Holy War. It's an interesting and well researched article that you should read on it's own to learn more about DeVos, but a couple of paragraphs really caught my eye.
"One of the organizations the Prince and DeVos clans have supported is the Council for National Policy, a secretive and little-known group of several hundred of the country's most powerful religious and social conservatives. Founded in 1981 by evangelical leader Tim LaHaye, a co-founder of the Moral Majority and co-author of the Left Behind apocalyptic series of books, the CNP has been described as a conservative answer to the Council on Foreign Relations.
"Members' names... among them, Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt; financier Foster Friess; religious leaders Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Tony Perkins; right-wing operatives like Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff; Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation; the NRA's Wayne LaPierre; Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese; and Republican members of Congress like Tom DeLay and Jesse Helms. More recent members now occupy roles in the White House, notably Stephen K. Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, and Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president."
Reitman also relayed Bruce Bartlett's observations in the 1990s: "It was a clique [of] religious wackos who kept it all behind closed doors because they were afraid that people would see how nuts they were. I was there because I was interested in tax policy and economics. I also had to get the support of the religious kooks, who didn't give a rat's ass about economics. And they realized that they had to get our support. It's about creating the big tent. 'Maybe you want theocracy – we don't give a shit as long as we have our tax cuts.' It's kind of frightening."
My research could not find anything that said the Council for National Policy helped Donald Trump build his list of Supreme Court nominees. But the fact that both Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway are members of the CNP, I cannot help but speculate that like Sarah Palin's selection in 2008, the CNP selected many of the people on Trump's lists including Neil Gorsuch. You won't find much on Gorsuch as you look at his actions on cases or listen to his testimony. He is too coy and cute. However, I would guess that the CNP had already thoroughly vetted Gorsuch via the cocktail social network of influential people. His presence on the Supreme Court would indeed be "dangerous".
I support a filibuster and just live with the consequences.