Looks Like Pretty Much Every Left-Wing Group Is Hellbent On Defending The Administrative State

Major left-wing organizations and donors have thrown their support and funding behind a coalition slamming a recent Supreme Court case that could rein in the administrative state as an anti-democratic “power grab by the MAGA supermajority.”

United for Democracy, a coalition that includes over a hundred left-wing organizations, launched earlier this year with a $1 million ad campaign warning voters that “extreme right-wing justices are exploiting their power” and urging them to back court reform. The coalition’s member organizations include a who’s who of left-wing organizations, including Planned Parenthood, March for Our Lives, the National Education Association and NARAL Pro-Choice America, among others.

At a rally outside the Supreme Court last week, the coalition opposed the lawsuit brought by small fishing companies who challenged an agency rule that forces them to shell out close to 20% of their revenue to pay for federally mandated on-board observers. Many of the member groups painted the Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce cases, which challenge a decades-old legal principle instructing courts to defer to agency interpretations of laws or “Chevron deference,” as a right-wing donor-funded power grab and a “threat to democracy.”

“United for Democracy is comprised of over hundred left-wing dark money groups that are eager for unelected and unaccountable administrative agencies to continue to do their deep state bidding,” JCN President Carrie Severino told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s not surprising these groups are very motivated to keep Chevron deference, which gives federal agencies significant power to advance the Left’s political agenda.”

Catholics for Choice was among the groups rallying outside the Supreme Court as it heard oral arguments.

“If [this case] is successful, it would further advance the Supreme Court’s quest to achieve disproportionate power & strip away our most fundamental freedoms,” the organization’s president, Jamie Manson, said.

“Our opposition in [#Relentless & Loper] will argue that executive power must be checked in order to protect the free exercise of religion,” he said. “Let me be abundantly clear: their religious freedom is not at stake, ours is.”

Religious liberty groups filed amicus briefs in the case urging the Supreme Court to reverse Chevron, pointing to instances like the Biden Department of Health and Human Services invoking it to defend its decision to direct Title X family planning funds to abortion clinics.

Other groups similarly construed the case as a fight for abortion.

“In #Relentless, those special interests are asking the anti-abortion justices to grant judges even more policy-making power,” Action Together NEPA posted.

Voters of Tomorrow, which aims to mobilize young voters for liberal causes, called the cases a “power grab” on social media.

“Far-right SCOTUS justices have already taken our abortion rights, weakened voting rights, and jeopardized gun safety measures,” they wrote. “And they won’t stop there.”

 

The coalition has also crafted “messaging” guidance on the case.

“This is a Relentless power grab by the MAGA supermajority on behalf of their billionaire and corporate benefactors who are co-opting our judicial system at every level,” a United for Democracy messaging guide states. “This captured Court has already taken away our most personal healthcare choices, weakened our right to vote, and made it more difficult to keep our families and communities safe from violence.”

Stasha Rhodes, United for Democracy’s campaign director, previously worked for a range of left-wing groups, including Giffords and the Center for American Progress. She’s on the board of Supreme Court Voter, an organization that opposed Trump’s judicial appointments during the 2020 election.

Some members of the coalition, like the Center for American Progress, also attacked the case as influenced by right-wing money.

“Questions from the right-wing justices during oral argument made clear that they’re itching to do the bidding of Koch or Leonard Leo-affiliated groups serving as counsel to the plaintiffs and submitting amicus briefs supporting their corporate interests,” Patrick Gaspard, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress Action Fund wrote.

Center for American Progress is itself backed by left-wing donors and entities within the dark money network managed by the liberal consultancy firm Arabella Advisors, such as the New Venture Fund, the Hopewell Fund and the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

The group has received $315,000 from the Hopewell Fund since 2020, according to tax data. It’s also received $4.72 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and $200,000 from the New Venture fund since 2018, per tax data.

It also receives extensive funding from noted left-wing donors. It has received $15.6 million from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2018, $1.85 million from George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society since 2020, $6.54 million from the Ford Foundation since 2018 and $16 million from the Sandler Foundation since 2018.

“Calling United for Democracy’s smears of this case ‘casting stones from a glass house’ would be an insult to the structural integrity of glass houses,” Capital Research Center Investigative Researcher Parker Thayer told the DCNF. “United for Democracy and its members are funded by special interests far more than the parties involved in this case supposedly are. There doesn’t seem to be a single left-wing billionaire, labor union, or ESG-supporting corporation whose money isn’t somehow represented in the United for Democracy Coalition.”

League of Conservation Voters, another member of the coalition which claimed in a press release the Relentless case is a power grab that “comes at the behest of Charles Koch and his massive, oil-funded political operation,” has received $27.58 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund since 2018, according to tax forms. It received $50,000 from the Hopewell Fund in 2020.

Thayer noted many of the same groups backing United for Democracy also back Just Majority, a coalition of over 30 left wing groups that support court packing.

“Any group involved in efforts to pack the court should not be taken seriously when they try to catastrophize about the impacts of a possible Supreme Court decision,” he said.

Other organizations outside the coalition pushing to characterize the two Supreme Court cases as a bid to undermine democracy, such as Democracy Forward, are also funded by major left-wing donors.

Democracy Forward’s funders include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and the Hopewell Fund, who gave $200,000 and $10,000 in 2022, respectively, according to tax documents. The organization’s biggest donor is the Sandler Foundation, which handed it $11 million between 2018 and 2021, per tax records.

The Sandler Foundation is also a major donor to the nonprofit news outlet ProPublica, whose reporting on Justice Clarence Thomas sparked calls for him to resign, as well as a renewed push for Congress to “rein in” the Supreme Court through ethics legislation.

President Joe Biden’s former chief of staff, Ron Klain, is on Democracy Forward’s board.

United for Democracy did not respond to a request for comment.

Katelynn Richardson on January 29, 2024


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