The Third Federalist Society - 2019-03-27
The first one most lawyers know from law school. It is, for the most part, a debating society, made up of like-minded aspiring lawyers drawn to conservative ideas and judicial doctrine. They organize seminars and invite academics, and judges, and attorneys to speak. That's terrific — no problem there.
The second Federalist Society is the parent organization of the campus debating society — a sort of highbrow think tank seeking to further conservative and libertarian judicial principles. It convenes fancy forums with conservative legal luminaries, from Supreme Court Justices to big-name politicians to renowned legal scholars. It issues newsletters and produces podcasts and policy recommendations. Through this, they hope to "reorder priorities within the legal system," and create a network of members that "extends to all levels of the legal community." I disagree with the system of law they are trying to impose, and their funding is suspiciously obscure, but this debate is a fine thing to have, so no objection there either.
Then there is the third Federalist Society. This one doesn't have much in common with the law school debating society, and it certainly doesn't operate like your run-of-the-mill Washington think tank. This Federalist Society is the nerve center for a complicated apparatus that does not care much about conservative principles like judicial restraint, or originalism, or textualism. This Federalist Society is the vehicle for powerful interests, which seek not to simply "reorder" the judiciary, but to acquire control of the judiciary to benefit their interests. This third Federalist Society understands the fundamental power of the federal judiciary to rig the system in favor of its donor interests — and as the Kavanaugh confirmation so clearly illustrated, it is willing to go to drastic lengths to secure that power.