Eyeing Supreme Court Vacancy, Left-Wing Dark Money Group Pushes Ketanji Brown Jackson for Top Appeals Court

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson / Source: WikiMedia Commons
March 26, 2021

A constellation of dark money groups is pushing U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals with an eye to elevating her to the Supreme Court. 

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Jackson to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. circuit, NBC News reports. Liberal activist group Demand Justice has come out in support of Jackson, who is on the group’s Supreme Court "shortlist." Demand Justice created the list explicitly to influence Biden’s judicial appointments.

Demand Justice's campaign comes as Democratic senators, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), have increased their attacks on conservative nonprofits that attempt to influence the judicial process. Demand Justice, which is part of the left-wing dark money network managed by the D.C.-based Arabella Advisors, does not disclose its funders.

The advocacy group has made its support for Jackson clear. "If she is picked for the D.C. Circuit, I’d expect her stay there to be rather brief, because I’d expect her to be the lead candidate for a Supreme Court vacancy in the event that Justice Breyer retires," said Demand Justice executive director Brian Fallon. "And we’d be fully supportive of her in both scenarios."

Fallon's group is pushing Biden to appoint Jackson and others as Democrats in the Senate continue their long-standing crusade against Republican dark money judicial groups.  Whitehouse in particular has positioned himself on the frontlines of the attacks in an effort to get them to release a list of their donors. The senator argues that the Supreme Court has been influenced by well-funded conservative groups that groom and elevate candidates for judicial appointments.

Demand Justice itself is part of a massive operation similar to what Whitehouse says drives Republican judicial efforts. It is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is managed by Arabella Advisors, a D.C. consulting firm that oversees one of the largest dark money networks in America. In recent years, Arabella's funds have raked in more than $1.3 billion in anonymous donations that are passed to left-wing nonprofits it houses, as well as to outside groups. 

Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, told the Washington Free Beacon that if Biden were to nominate Jackson it would be "one more example of Biden rewarding the Arabella dark money network that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to elect Biden and Senate Democrats."

Demand Justice also has direct ties to secretive left-wing donor clubs. Prior to its launch, Fallon pitched the group at a closed-door Atlanta gathering of the Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal donors who shower left-wing causes with cash and help shape the progressive agenda. The alliance lists the Sixteen Thirty Fund as an avenue to fund left-wing efforts in confidential documents. 

While Demand Justice hides its financial backers, the Free Beacon previously found that George Soros, a cofounder of the Democracy Alliance, provided the group with $2.6 million from his Open Society Foundations. The money came after Fallon had appeared at the conference and around the time of Demand Justice's inception, both of which occurred in 2018.

Progressives recently expanded their dark money judicial coalition in an effort to undo President Donald Trump's legacy. Demand Justice joined seven other groups in efforts to add seats to the Supreme Court and impose term limits on justices.

Demand Justice did not respond to a request for comment on their campaign for Jackson's appointment.