What Will It Take to Stymie Right-Wing Supervillain Leonard Leo? - 2022-09-07

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F340.png What Will It Take to Stymie Right-Wing Supervillain Leonard Leo? September 7, 2022, Elie Mystal, The Nation

Imagine how Lois Lane would feel if she found out that a rich industrialist gave Lex Luthor $1.6 billion to start mining Kryptonite. Her comic-book howl is the only thing I can think of that might approximate my own reaction to the news that electronics magnate Barre Seid gave conservative kingpin Leonard Leo $1.6 billion, tax-free, for his new "nonprofit" venture, the Marble Freedom Trust. The most effective villain in America just got a literal fortune to play with.

Leo is the longtime leader of the Federalist Society; as such, he is as responsible as any single individual can be for the conservative takeover of the judicial branch. He has nurtured the careers of countless conservative judges and helped develop the theories of law that give more rights to gun owners than to the half of the population that has a uterus. He's been instrumental in lobbying Republican politicians to support his judicial candidates. Most important, Leo has been able to get buy-ins from various Republican constituency groups, like the gun lobby and the religious right, to functionally cede the judicial nominations process to him and his organization. Justice Samuel Alito may have killed Roe v. Wade, but it was Leo who fashioned the murder weapon and put it in his hand.

Leo and the Federalist Society have accomplished all of this on a relatively small budget. The society's 2020 tax filing lists just north of $20 million in revenue. In addition, Leo is at the center of a network of conservative nonprofits that have raised millions in "dark money" donations­—more than $250 million between 2014 and 2017 alone—to help remake the judicial system, according to The Washington Post.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Elie | last = Mystal | title = What Will It Take to Stymie Right-Wing Supervillain Leonard Leo? | url = https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/dark-money-windfall/ | work = The Nation | date = September 7, 2022 | accessdate = June 10, 2023 }}