Legal experts blast tactics of 'secretly-funded' gang pushing voter suppression in 2020 election
Businessman holding sack of money (Shuttershock)

Two leading legal experts warned of a new threat to America's democracy.


Dahlia Lithwick and Prof. Richard Hasan teamed up to write their warning for Slate.

"The right-wing legal network spawned by the Federalist Society has finally gone full Trumpian. It has morphed from a group of apparently principled conservatives debating high-minded theories of legal interpretation, into a secretly-funded cabal spouting conspiracy theories such as the myth of widespread voter fraud," they wrote.

"We’ve certainly seen hints that this was the case and also signals that it was coming. But we have now approached peak-hackery, and that hackery is now being directed at manipulating elections. That part really is new, and it is a dangerous development that threatens the rule of law," they explained.

"As the Federalist Society has retained its formal role as an elite debating and networking club, however, things have taken a darker turn on the network’s periphery. As an eye-opening new report released Wednesday by Senators Chuck Schumer, Debbie Stabenow, and Sheldon Whitehouse contends, Leo, who is still co-chairman of the Federalist Society, is now spearheading an all-out effort to capture the federal judiciary and to seat judges who are likely to rule in favor of those secret monied-interests," they explained.

"The Senators’ report tells us much of what we knew or suspected. But the big news today is where that conservative network is heading: Their activities now go well beyond dark money political hardball into conspiracy mongering and election-meddling efforts around the November presidential elections that endanger our democracy," they warned. "Now things have taken a turn from court-packing to a side-grift in vote suppression. According to new reporting from The Guardian and Open Secrets, Leo, Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network, and their dark-money backers are promoting the Orwellian-named 'Honest Elections Project' to pressure elections administrators to limit access to the ballot and to undermine trust in elections. The messaging echoes Trump’s baseless claims that various states’ efforts to let people vote by mail are fraudulent—and turns these lies into policy."

The two experts reminded that Trump's claims are a conspiracy theory.

"It almost goes without saying at this juncture but we will say it again: The idea that voter fraud in the United States is widespread has been debunked many times. There’s so little evidence to support the claims that the true aim of such chatter must be to use lies to make it harder for people likely to vote for Democrats to register and vote. The reality is that some Republicans have turned to suppressing the vote—by voter roll purges, voter disenfranchisement, voter intimidation and the closing of polling places—when they fear they cannot win an election fairly," they explained.

Read the full report.