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STATEMENT: Role of Federalist Society and Leonard Leo in Vetting Trump’s Judicial Nominees Must Be Investigated, CAP’s Maggie Jo Buchanan Says

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), announced that they are looking into questions surrounding the unusual role that Leonard Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society, has played in the Trump administration’s process for selecting federal judicial nominees. These lawmakers are investigating potential conflicts of interest, record retention violations, and other possible violations that may have occurred while Leo was performing work that is typically conducted by federal employees. In response, Maggie Jo Buchanan, director of Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

President Donald Trump has shamefully outsourced the job of picking the nation’s judges to the Federalist Society, an ideologically extreme political group bankrolled by conservative dark-money interests. Leonard Leo’s corrupting influence in loading the courts with right-wing judicial nominees has had a devastating effect on the fairness and legitimacy of the federal bench. These disturbing reports about possible conflicts of interest and legal violations must be fully investigated in order to ensure the integrity of U.S. courts. This effort will go far toward bringing accountability and transparency to the nomination process.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.