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Federalist Society


The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies (commonly known as the Federalist Society) is a right-wing legal organization consisting of “over 65,000 legal professionals and others interested in current intellectual and practical developments in the law.” It also claims to have a students’ division with more than 10,000 members. The organization was founded in 1982 by conservative law students at elite universities—including Yale and the University of Chicago—and is currently headquartered in Washington, D.C., with chapters in every state. 

The Federalist Society has long worked to promote the appointment of right-wing judges at every level of the judicial system. Five of its current or former members serve or have served on the Supreme Court, including current justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch. The Federalist Society and its co-chair Leonard Leo significantly influenced the Trump administration’s judicial appointments, with approximately 85 Trump-appointed judges holding membership in the organization. The Federalist Society also promotes radical legal theories, and was intent on impeaching President Barack Obama during his two terms in office.

The Federalist Society accepts funding from the Koch network and is an associate member of the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN).

January 6, 2021

  • Attorney John Eastman, who actively advised Trump on ways to overturn the 2020 election results and spoke at the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the insurrection, is a member of the Federalist Society and served as chairman of the group’s federalism and separation of powers practice. His role in inciting the insurrection has led to criticism of the Federalist Society at law schools and debate within the organization about removing Eastman from his position.
  • In an effort to influence legislative and gubernatorial elections, the Federalist Society has accepted large donations from the Bradley Foundation. Bradley Foundation board member and Trump advisor Cleta Mitchell was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. She was reportedly with Trump on Jan. 6 but refused to provide her phone and text records to the committee. 

The Big Lie