Supreme Court Historical Society “Raked in Millions” From Far-Right Activists With Pending Cases

A demonstrator holds a large cross outside the U.S. Supreme Court. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
  • An ostensibly charitable group, the Supreme Court Historical Society, has been accepting donations from corporations and far-right activists with cases before the court.
  • The group raised over $23 million in the past two decades, refusing to disclose its donors, but The New York Times identified sources behind over $10.7 million raised since 2003. 
  • The involvement of corporations and activists with cases before the court raises concerns about conflicts of interest and the influence of outside interests on the Supreme Court.

There is growing concern about the Supreme Court Historical Society, a charitable group with close ties to the U.S. Supreme Court, accepting donations from corporate interests and far-right activists who have cases before the court.

The group, which claims to be “dedicated to the collection and preservation” of the Court’s history, has raised over $23 million in the past two decades but has refused to disclose its donors to the public.

An analysis by The New York Times found that at least $6.4 million, or 60 percent, of the society’s funding, came from corporations, special interest groups, or lawyers and firms that have argued cases before the court.

Some of this funding, such as that from Chevron, was given while the company had a pending climate litigation case before the court.

The involvement of anti-abortion activist Rev. Rob Schenck in the group has also raised concerns about conflicts of interest. Charles Fried, who once served as solicitor general in the Reagan administration, told the newspaper he was “horrified” by Schenck’s behavior.

The left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has called for further investigation into the society, which has “raked in millions” from groups with cases before the court.

The watchdog group called Fix the Court has suggested that to avoid ethical concerns, Congress should simply appropriate the necessary funds for the society’s stated mission of preserving the history of the Court.

Categories: Business, Government, Politics, Society

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