SCOTUS

An ALEC Sham – The International Task Force

by 2old2care


For a couple of entries coming up – I am going to be taking snips from an excellent piece of investigative journalism written by Bob Sloan, the Executive Director of the Voter Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP).

I’m going to do this in multiple entries – using snips – ’cause I am a “blogger” with ADD, with the attention span for research and writing of about that of a flea
(let’s jump around and do this – or this, no this, maybe this, or this …).


ALEC-New Partnerships and Exposing Hidden Foreign Influences

Before we consider what the impact of a joint Republican Study Committee/ ALEC/Heritage Foundationpartnership against federal controls would have upon the U.S., we should first look at current ALEC activities along these lines involving memberships held by foreign representatives. Together ALEC’s state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials to establish US state and foreign policies and pass laws suggested by those representing foreign powers…

“Together ALEC’s state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials”?

Are you kidding me – state legislators from ho-bunk towns in the United States making “international” resolutions.

You have got to be kidding me!

Like America is suppose to believe that ALEC state legislators have the experience in foreign affairs necessary to be working on an “international” task force.  Get real!!!
Most of them haven’t even been out of state – except to go to an ALEC meeting – for free – on a corporate ALEC scholarship.

For example, take Mary Kiffmeyer – from Minnesota – our ALEC State Chair who is on the International and Federal Relations Task Force.

The oldest of 14 children, Kiffmeyer was raised in Pierz, Minnesota.
The population was 1,393 at the 2010 census.[6]

Kiffmeyer lives near Big Lake, Minnesota.
Big Lake   …   population was 10,060 at the 2010 census.

Oh – yeah – this is someone I want interfering in foreign affairs on the ALEC International Relations Task Force.

These state bumpkins and their insistence in interfering with Foreign/ International Relations will probably set world governments and US foreign relations back 100 years.  God only knows what they are doing behind the closed doors of the secretive meetings of the ALEC International and Federal Relations Task Force.

God help us and the world!!!!!


Concerns about foreign money and influence finding their way into our electoral process because of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision – are now bolstered by the discovery that foreign nations are already taking part in establishing U.S. policies related to voting and foreign matters – through ALEC.

And this paragraph is NOT a push, ALEC Resolution in Support of the Citizens United Decision

Summary:

This Resolution emphasizes the importance of first amendment protections of corporations’, non-profit advocacy groups’, and labor organizations’ speech. The resolution warns that mandatory disclosure and disclaimer requirements, particularly relating to an organization’s sour source of funding, can be intimidating to  such organizations and inhibit free speech.

Resolution

WHEREAS, the January 2010 Supreme Court decision in  Citizens United v. Federal  Election Commission  restored and affirmed the First Amendment rights of  corporations, labor organizations, and nonprofit advocacy groups to engage in  political speech in campaigns; and

SNIP

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED  that the American Legislative Exchange Council  (ALEC) opposes efforts that are outlined above at the federal, state, and local level  to undermine the Supreme Court’s decision in  Citizens United v. Federal Election  Commission  .

Adopted by the Public Safety and Elections Task Force at the Annual Meeting, August 7, 2010. Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, September 19, 2010


“foreign nations are already taking part in establishing U.S. policies related to voting and foreign matters – through ALEC.”

One major difference which ALEC has attempted to bury deeply and not disclose is the involvement of foreign nationals holding elected offices in their governments who also hold full ALEC membership(s) – including the right to a vote [on ALEC “model legislation”].

These [foreign national] individuals help develop US policies, write ALEC resolutions and proposed model bills to be implemented in the United States – and internationally.  They [foreign nationals] cast votes alongside corporate reps and lobbyists and conservative state lawmakers on US state and federal model legislation, formulate resolutions sent out to the President, Congressional members and foreign governments.  These foreign officials then return to their government posts and lobby on behalf of the same initiatives they helped develop for the US – initiatives being lobbied for by ALEC to their [foreign national] governments using the same resolutions, models or policy demands.
foreign participation in developing US laws and policies

in relation to our state AND national government – BECAUSE –  the “ALEC International Task Force” is part of the ALEC “Federalism Task Force”

Which is part of ALEC’s “Federal Forum” program, which focuses on:

“Bringing state legislative leaders into contact with ALEC’s alumni  members in Congress is the cornerstone of the Federal Forum and  is instrumental in maintaining the principles of limited government,  individual liberty, and free markets. Through this relationship, ALEC hopes  to provide its 96 alumni members with information and testimonial support  from the states on pressing policy issues.”

foreign participation in developing US laws and policies –

At last count, ALEC documents list at least nine governments represented by seventeen publicly elected foreign officials sitting on ALEC’s International Relations task force – with full membership and voting rights.

And that’s where we will go next in this series

International Relations Task Force Co-Chairs (as of 11/2011)

Harold Brubaker (since replaced upon his retirement from the NC General Assembly by Tim Moffitt, also from North Carolina); and

Brandie Davis – Lobbyist for PMI Global (Philip Morris International)

16. Specific lobbying issues

World Trade Organization obligation issues.

Pending U.S. Trade Agreement Initiatives.

S 3240: Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012; proposed amendment relating to trade negotiations.

ALEC International Relations Task Force Co Chairs,
A state legislator and a lobbyist.
How fitting!!!!

 
AND

American Legislative Exchange Council International Relations Task Force [As of 6/30/2011]

Richard Ashworth
Member
Member European Parliament [MEP] 5 Hazelgrove Road
West Sussex RH16 3PH

Cory Bernardi
Member
Senator, Australian Senate
Level 13
100 King William Street
Adelaide, S.A. 5000

Adam Bielan
Member
MEP
UL CHODUIE WI CZA 2/7
Warsaw, Poland 02-593

Martin Callanan
Member
Member of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group
European Parliament
105 Kells Lane
Gateshead, UK NE95XY

Philip Claeys
Member
MEP
Kruiskruidlaan 11
Belgium 3090

Niranjan Deva
Member
MEP
Bat. Altiero Spinneli 14E130
60 Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstaat 60
Belgium B-1047

Christopher Fjellner
Member
MEP
14 Rue Wiertz
ASP 13E116
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Liam Fox
Member
Member British Parliament, House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
UNITED KINGDOM

Daniel Hannan
Member
MEP
60 Rue Wiertz
Brussels 1047
BELGIUM

Chris Heaton-HarrisMember
MEP
1.40E+158
60 Rue Wiertz
Brux, Belgium B-1047

Roger Helmer
Member
MEP
ASP 14E 242
60 Rue Wiertz
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Ayesha Javed
Member
Assemblywoman, Punjab Provincial Assembly
Provincial Assembly of the Punjab
The Mall Road
Lahore, Punjab 54000

Syed Kamall
Member
MEP
60 Rue Wiertz (14 E116)
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Michal Kaminski
Member
Chairman of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group
European Parliament
ASP BE130, European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Mirostaw Piotrowski
Member
MEP
UL Zaua 39
Lublin, PO Box 20-601
Poland

Ivo Strejcek
Member
MEP
Vintrnt 105212
Zdar Nad Sazavon
Czech Republic 59101

Konrad Szymanski
Member
MEP
Joliot-Curie
26 M.6
Warsaw, Poland 02-646

AND

Reem Badran
Member of Parliament from Jordan, and ALEC’s newest International Legislator Member. (Page 26 • Inside ALEC | October 2012)

Written by 2old2care

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ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

A VLTP Special Report – ALEC’s Federal Interference, Part II

August 20, 2012 | by Bob Sloan

Last month I began a two part series that began with “ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & “The Amicus Project” – Fed Court Interference.” The first segment dealt with identifying and exposing ALEC’s Koch-funded cabal interfering with our judicial processes by filing hundreds of “Amicus Briefs” to state and federal courts in pending cases.  These were cases involving issues under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and other rights – and submitted by numerous cabal members, such as ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, CATO, Mackinac, etc.

When they file these briefs it is not sufficient to simply join together and file one comprehensive “brief” or argument in support of whatever position the cabal’s side is advocating for.  No, they file separate briefs making it appear that there is a groundswell of support on the cabal’s side of an issue.  I described this as the “front door” access the cabal uses in their attempts to influence outcomes in judicial cases involving legislative and related pursuits of the cabal.

This diary will introduce everyone to the cabal’s “back door” access to and influence upon state and federal judges through seminars and conferences provided by the cabal members...to in effect “program” judges to rule favorably in key cases.  These seminars are used to “educate” our judiciary as to the positions held by corporations and other matters important to businesses and their wealthy owners.  These seminars are provided to judges prior to important case reviews…the amicus briefs are “reminders” to the judges of what they “learned”through these seminars that were provided along with luxury vacations paid for by many corporations that may eventually wind up as a party before one or more of these judges.

The seminars take place at truly plush resorts (many of them the same used by ALEC for their annual meetings involving legislators) during all expense trips provided to the judges by a number of Conservative funded organizations (click the blue links for more information about these groups); the Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE Foundation), George Mason University’s Law and Economics Center, Northwestern University’s Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, James Madison University’s Center for the Constitution at Montpelier and several other, smaller organizations.

These seminars are a way for ALEC’s corporate members and contributors to assist the cabal’s pursuit of influencing judges to render pro-corporate decisions on important issues and cases.  Below the fold I’ll provide some of the information, a video from ABC’s 20/20 and other documents identifying how this entire “system” has been set up, the funders and backers and the impact these maneuvers have had upon our judicial system.

#######

Since the founding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 1973, conservative Republicans have pursued one overall objective – to control all three branches of the federal government.  The reason for seeking to gain total control is obvious.

In this pursuit they began by striving to grab control of state government’s three branches: legislative, judicial and gubernatorial.  In this latter effort, they have been relatively successful in that today they have twenty-one fully controlled state governments.  Many of these states became “Red” after the 2010 election that brought wins to the Tea Party and control to the GOP in more states than ever before.

It isn’t sufficient for anyone seeking control of our government to merely hold a majority in any of the three branches of government – they also need those in the controlling majorities to think like they do, owe their careers to those who worked to put them in office or exhibit a genuine allegiance to an overall agenda.

In 2001 ABC’s 20/20 presented an expose titled “Junkets for Judges” which can be found on YouTube in a two part presentation.  Here is a link to part two.

An important part of the foregoing investigative report is the fact that they claim as of 2001 they had identified more than 500 US judges who had attended these seminars.  Many that attended were at the time sitting in review of cases involving issues that were discussed at the seminars – and some returned to their courtrooms, and ruled favorably on behalf of corporate rights over governmental rights.  This 20/20 report only reports on the GMU seminars.  They don’t address the ones provided by FREE, Northwestern University, Liberty Fund or others.  At that time FREE had not opened their doors to state appellate and Supreme Court Justices and judges, providing the same pro-corporate seminars to them.

These junkets are designed to provide attending judges with an ultra-conservative, pro-corporate outlook on key issues.  During these free trips judges attend daily seminars provided by purported scientists, corporate executives and others advancing a one-sided, pro-corporate, free-market conservative ideology.  The seminars are designed to impart to the attending judiciary, corporate or business points of view on critical issues involving environment, economics, tort reform, EPA and takings law (eminent domain).

The cabal uses these free vacations in the same manner as the travel companies and time share companies do…everyone of us has been subjected to offers of “free vacations” for simply attending a time share presentation.  None of us plan on buying a time share, or joining a “discount” club – but face it, many do and for that reason the techniques are successful and continue to be used year after year.  These judicial education trips are no different.  Judges get an all expense paid trip, thinking they will have fun and can ignore the  propaganda presented in the seminars…but in the end, if they want to be able to take more of these trips, at some point they have to rule as if they’ve “learned” something at the previous ones, and thus be allowed subsequent trips.

I’m sure that those behind this activity involving the programming of judges, will no doubt claim that everyone has the right to advance their own arguments on important legal cases…that there are numerous other organizations providing seminars, conferences and work shops for judges.  Just as they’ve done in defense of ALEC’s operations and pursuits of proposing and passing state laws favorable to their conservative political agenda.

There are important differences between the cabal’s efforts of influencing the judiciary – and legislation – and the efforts put forth by others; the partisanship of their efforts.  All of their activities are designed to advance a pro-corporate, conservatively political position.  The claim of bi-partisanship or non-partisan makeup of the cabal’s members is delusional.  ALEC for instance has conservative leaning Democratic members, but they hold no positions of authority within the ALEC hierarchy; no chairmanship of ALEC’s task forces, on their Public sector board, etc.

Though the 20/20 expose concentrated upon George Mason University’s involvement in providing these trips for our judges,we found several additional universities and private, non-profit organizations participating in these efforts at both the state and federal level.  All but one are provided by conservative organizations, foundations or schools:

•    George Mason University(Law and Economics Center – LEC)   (Recipient of Koch funding totaling $20,297,143 from 1986-2006 ), Earhart Foundation, JM Olin Foundation.
•    Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE).  Funded by ExxonMobil, GE Foundation, Koch Family Foundation  ($1,305,500 through 2006), JM Olin Foundation, Earhart Foundation and Castle Rock Foundation (Coors). ($65,000 in 2009) and the Claude Lambe Foundation ($1,540,000).
•    Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program (funded by many key ALEC members, including Koch) .
•    Liberty Fund providing judicial conferences and seminars to/for Judges.
•    Federalist Society  (Koch funded   $1,437,200 through 2006)
•    Aspen Institute (Koch funded  $1,115,000 through 2006 with David Koch on the BOD).
•    University of Kansas, Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) begun in 1995 by Henry Butler  with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation (see section on Henry Butler below).
•    International Judicial Academy which provides seminars for judges on the International level.

Supporters of the IJA have included; JEHT Foundation and Foundation to Promote Open Society.  JEHT Foundation ceased to operate in 2009 due to the Madoff ponzi scheme where their money was invested.  Foundation to Promote Open Society gets some of their principal funding from George Soros. Much of their contributions and donations received – along with their expenditures – are to/from other countries and include non-Soros’ funding.If you would like to know if a specific federal judge has attended one or more of these seminars, please visit http://tripsforjudges.org/ where you can input a judge’s name and search by organization, foundation, etc.  This link is somewhat outdated and does not have current information for 2012, but much of the information is in there and worth a look.

Other organizations provide judicial “training” to state and federal judges, but the foregoing seven are those with ongoing regularly scheduled seminars and trips.  Some completely reimburse judges for travel, housing and food while others reimburse to a set amount (such as U of K’s LOEC that reimbursed state judges up to $500.00 cap for travel).

The funding for six of the seven providing such judicial trips are funded with money from one or more of the Koch controlled family foundations.  In addition many known conservative foundations also fund these trips and seminars for judges, including; John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Castle Rock Foundation, Claude Lambe Foundation (Koch controlled) and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

A sampling of topics presented in the seminars to these judges – state and federal – include; environment, takings laws (imminent domain), economics, tort reform, juror selection and jury decision making, The presentations are made by speakers from various colleges, universities and of greater importance from corporate CEO’s and executives representing Shell Oil and other major ALEC member corporations.  In addition many of the presentations are made by those representing; Heritage Foundation,  American Enterprise Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis, George Mason University, Brookings Institute and several other mostly conservative entities.

Trip/seminar funding listed by George Mason University include most of ALEC’s for profit corporate members, and the non-profits that fund ALEC – and most have ties to the Koch and related foundations previously mentioned.  (Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch benefactors, affiliates or corporate members). These funders are:

3M (former ALEC member)
Abbott Laboratories  (ALEC member)
Aequus Institute
Armstrong Foundation  (ALEC funding source)
AT&T (ALEC Member)
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Batchelder III, Hon. William G. (current Speaker of the Ohio House)
Batchelder, Hon. Alice M. (Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit)
BP America, Inc. (ALEC member)
Brunswick Corporation
Castle Rock Foundation (Coors, ALEC funder)
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (ALEC Funding)
CIGNA Corporation (ALEC affiliated through Nickles Lobby firm)
Coca-Cola Company (former ALEC member)
Commonwealth of VA Tax Donations
Cortopassi Institute
Dow Chemical Company  (ALEC member)
Earhart Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
FedEx Corporation (ALEC member)
General Motors Corporation (ALEC member)
Gillette Company
Goodrich Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation
John William Pope Foundation
Johnson & Johnson (ALEC member)
Lilly Endowment, Inc. (ALEC member [Eli Lilly parent])
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt (Koch Ind. Patent Atty)
Pepsico Inc. (former ALEC member)
Pfizer, Inc. (ALEC member)
Property and Casualty Ins. Ass.
Randolph Foundation
Roe Foundation
Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Jane Humphreys Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Scaife Foundation, Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Sharp Foundation
Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Insurance Companies (ALEC member)
Sunmark Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC member and joint amicus brief filings)
Unilever United States, Inc. (former ALEC member)
Verizon Communications (ALEC member)
William E. Simon Foundation
J.P. Humphreys Foundation

And when we researched Northwestern Law’s Judicial Education Seminars we found many of the same funding sources:

American Petroleum Institute (ALEC affiliate)
AT&T Inc. (ALEC member_
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
 (ALEC benefactor/member)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
LyondellBasell Industries (ALEC member)
McDonald’s Corporation (former ALEC member)
Microsoft Corporation (ALEC member)
Pfizer Inc. (ALEC member)
Searle Freedom Trust (ALEC affiliate – Heritage Foundation funder)
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (ALEC member)
The Dow Chemical Company (ALEC member)
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (ALEC/Koch affiliate & funding)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC affiliate and joint amicus brief filings)

Here is a picture from FREE’s 2007 website that listed their funding sources for the judicial education program:free 2007 funding

Again, we see many of the same sources that are funding GMU and Northwestern University’s programs.  Note the corporate donors are all ALEC members – or were in 2007 – and the $100,000 annual contribution from the Koch’s Claude Lambe Foundation.

In 2006 federal courts began requiring that all “seminars” provided to judges had to be reported.  The reports required submission of the organization providing the seminars, topics presented and the name and organization presenting, where the funding came from for each.  A current listing of seminars held and reported to the US court since 2009 is found here.  As you’ll find if you visit, there are page after page of such seminars directed at “educating” our judges – state and federal.  Each one has basically the same funders, presenters, and you’ll also see that in many cases funding is provided by federal judges and their wives for these events.

The FREE foundation was uncomfortable filing such reports with the court system, so after we exposed them in 2010-2011, FREE decided to stop dedicating their seminars to judges.  Now they provide the same seminars, with the same topics and presenters but provide that these are for “Religious Leaders”.  Judges are still free to attend these FREE seminars – but since FREE lists them as for Religious Leaders, there is no requirement to submit reports to the US court system about them…no list of benefactors, topics, presenters, attendees, etc.

George Mason, Northwestern, Liberty Fund all continue to report their judicial seminars to the federal court as required.  FREE is the only one to cease their reporting by now claiming that their seminars are no longer dedicated to judicial education – but the seminars are “still open to judges” that wish to attend.

As with the ALEC model legislation, many of the titles provided for the topics covered in these judicial seminars are worded innocuously so they sound non-partisan and beneficial to the public as a whole.  We learned with ALEC to be suspicious of the wording of their proposed legislation and look instead to the content.  One has to do the same with the titles of the seminars and subjects listed for educating judges.  Below are just a few.  Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch affiliates:

Center for the Constitution at Montpelier June and December 2010 (Funder: Robert H. Smith)The Future of Executive Authority
Historical Context of the Constitution Related to Modern Technology
Future of the Fourth Amendment
Bioengineering and the Future of 14th Amendment Personhood

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2011 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust)
Taking the Long View of Progress

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment July 2010 (funded byMJ Murdock Charitable Trust)

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Addiction: A Disease of the Brain or a Disorder of Choice?

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Delusions and Dreams vs. Consumer Driven Health Care

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Foundations for Understanding Health Care Policy

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Information, Incentives & Health Care Decision Making

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Perspecives from a Medical Entrepreneur

George Herzlinger (Belmont Instrument Corporation)
Potentials for Policy Reform

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Potentials for Policy Reform

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Practical Problems with Organ Donation

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2010 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust – Seminar title: Terrorism, Civil Liberty and National Security [08/08/2010 – 08/12/2010] (continued))

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
Cyber-Screwed- Why We Can’t Fight Cyber-terrorism

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
The Unhappy Marriage: Civil-Military Discord in Fighting Terrorism

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
Sunni and Shi’a: There Are Differences and Why They Matter

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
Terrorism and the Allocation of Public Resources

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges, Week 2 [03/10/2012 – 03/16/2012] Funded by xyz corp.

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
Mortgage Markets

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
On the Efficiency of the Common Law

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
The Not-So-Good Old Days of Consumer Credit

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economic Thinking

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economics of Insurance

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Law & Economics in the Courts

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Supply, Demand & Mutually Beneficial Exchange

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program Seminar title: Advanced Law and Economics Institute: Environmental Economics [09/21/2009 – 09/23/2009]

Funders
American Petroleum Institute
AT&T Inc.
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation
LyondellBasell Industries
McDonald’s Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
Pfizer Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Shell Oil Company
State Farm Mutual Automobil Insurance Company
The Dow Chemical Company
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Speakers/Topics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Environmental Federalism

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Externalitites

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Markets in Action

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Review of Economic Concepts: Incentives Matter

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges [10/11/2009 – 10/16/2009]

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Corporate Governance

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Economic Evidence

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Forensic Economics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Information and Prices, Allocative Efficiency, Equilibrium

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Principal-Agent Problems and Contracting

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Risk, Injury, and Liability

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Scarcity, Mutually Beneficial Exchange, Comparative Advantage

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: The Strategic Constitution [10/21/2009 – 10/24/2009]

Robert Cooter (Boalt Hall School of Law, Univ of CA, Berkeley)
The Strategic Constitution

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economic Analysis of Law [11/06/2009 – 11/12/2009

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)(Member American Family Business Foundation)
Analyzing Human Choice

Henry Manne (George Mason University School of Law (Emeritus)
Corporate Law

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Economic Structure of Tort Law

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Fairness vs Efficiency

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Intellectual Property

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Negligence, Strict Liability and Causation

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Rivalrous and Risky Decisions

Charles Goetz was a signatory to Milton Friedman’s letter: “Top Economists Agree: It’s Time to Repeal the Death Tax!” letter sent under the letterhead of the American Family Business Foundation in 2001.  Other signatories included ALEC, Jonathan Williams (ALEC), Art Laffer (ALEC Scholar), Henry N. Butler (review of the US Court’s Seminar reports linked to above, reveals that Butler is a frequent speaker at most of the seminars given to judges).  His credentials vary, sometimes listing him as GMU School of Law, Northwestern U’s School of Law, etc.It is important to know who these people are who are lecturing our judiciary.  Let’s look closer at Henry N. Butler.  As noted above, Butler founded the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) in 1995 with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.  Here is more on Butler from Wiki:

Henry N. Butler (born c. 1955) is an American professor of law, economics, and public policy. He currently serves as the executive director of the Searle Center at the George Mason University’s School of Law. He formerly served as the Director of the Judicial Education Program at the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. Butler is a conservative and a supporter of free markets with little regulation; he has acted as an expert witness in a legal cases involving antitrust, restrictive covenants, damages, joint ventures, and other issues.Butler ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th congressional district in the 1992 elections; he lost the general election to Democrat Leslie L. Byrne.

Butler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Richmond in 1977. He then attended Virginia Tech, where he earned a Master of Arts in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1982. There he studied under Nobel Economics Laureate James M. Buchanan. Butler received his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1982, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.

Butler spent three years at Texas A&M as an assistant professor of management before becoming a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School during the 1985-86 academic year. From 1986 to 1993, Butler was a professor at George Mason University School of Law. After 1992 Butler was a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law and School of Business, and for a short time served as dean of the Chapman University, Argyros School of Business and Economics and Chairman of the Chapman University Law and Organizational Economics Center before moving to Chapman in 2001.

Butler has been involved in the political and legal spheres. While at George Mason University, he served as director of the Law and Economics Center at the George Mason University School of Law, which operates the Economics Institutes program for federal judges, which is controversial. In December 1995, Butler introduced the Economics Institute for State Judges at the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center.

Butler has written extensively on law and economics. He has written a casebook, Economic Analysis for Lawyers (with Christopher Drahozal, Carolina Academic Press), used at the Economics Institute for State Judges. Other books by Butler include Unhealthy Alliances: Bureaucrats, Interest Groups, and Politicians in Health (1994,American Entreprise Institute) The Corporation and the Constitution (with Larry E. Ribstein; 1995, American Entreprise Institute); and Using Federalism to Improve Environmental Policy (with Jonathan R. Macey; 1996, American Entreprise Institute).

Butler serves on the Legal Advisory Council of the AEI Legal Center for the Public Interest and the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Legal Foundation.

Butler has been cited (report to the Kansas Insurance Commission) in key reports involving insurance and spoken to the Federal Trade Commission on economic issues.University of Kansas, School of Law…”a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law.  Know who else is now advocating “Excellence in Advocacy” at U of K’s School of Law?  Shook, Hardy and Bacon – the law firm that advances ALEC’s “Tort Reform” model legislation through the Civil Justice Task Force.  The CJTF is directed by Victor Schwartz of SHB, and another SHB attorney sits as the CJTF “Advisor” – Mark Behrens.

Here’s a picture of Victor Schwartz of SHB giving a presentation on Tort Reform to ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force working group in 2010 in San Diego:

Schwartz at ALEC TF Meeting in SD

Today as yesterday, pictures say a lot…here are three pictures of Henry Butler.  In the first, he’s speaking at ALEC’s 2010 Meeting in San Diego, CA.  In the second he is speaking at a Searle Center judicial seminar in 2010 and in the third are judges sitting in attendance at that seminar…

Henry Butler speaks at ALEC

Henry Butler speaks at Searle Economics Institute seminar

Judges at Searle 2010 Butler Seminar

Another frequently used speaker at these judicial education seminars is Todd Zywiki, professor at GMU.  Here is Zywiki’s bio provided by the FREE Foundation where Zywiki sits upon their Board of Directors:

Todd J. Zywicki is Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law ands Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review.  From 2003-2004, Professor Zywickiserved as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Boston College Law School, and Mississippi College School of Law.Professor Zywicki clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked as an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practiced bankruptcy and commercial law. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review and John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics. Professor Zywicki also received an M.A. in Economics from Clemson University and an A.B. cum Laude with high honors in his major from Dartmouth College.

Professor Zywicki is a Senior Scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Fellow of the James Buchanan Center, Program on Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, at George Mason University, a Senior Fellow of the Goldwater Institute, and a Fellow of the International Centre for Economic Research in Turin, Italy.  During the Fall 2008 Semester Professor Zywicki was the Searle Fellow of the George Mason University School of Law and was a 2008-09 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Arch W. Shaw NationalFellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

Professor Zywicki is the author of more than 60 articles in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed economics journals.  He is one of the Top 50 Most Downloaded Law Authors at the Social Science Research Network, both All Time and during the Past 12 Months.  Heserved as the Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review from 2001-02.  Hehas testified several times before Congress on issues of consumer bankruptcy law and consumer credit and is a frequent commentator on legal issues in the print and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, andThe Laura Ingraham Show.  He is a contributor to the popular legal weblog The Volokh Conspiracy and The Atlantic Business Channel of The Atlanticmagazine.

Professor Zywicki is a member of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council for the Financial Services Research Program at George Washington University School of Business, the Executive Committee for the Federalist Society’s Financial Institutions and E-Commerce Practice Group, the Advisory Council of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Program Advisory Board of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment.  He is currently the Chair of the Academic Advisory Council for the following organizations: The Bill of Rights Institute, the film “We the People in IMAX,” and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation “Freedom Museum” in Chicago, Illinois.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Bill of Rights Institute and in 2005 he was elected an Alumni Trustee of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.

Federal Judge Jerry E. Smith that Zywiki clerked for, attended many of the GMU and FREE trips and seminars: http://tripsforjudges.org/….  Click on judges, select Jerry E. Smith and look for yourself: trips and seminars from FREE, Liberty Fund, Federalist Society, etc.  Here’s a partial screen shot of some of his attendance:Judge Jerry Smith trips for judges screen shot

The Chairman of FREE is John Baden.  Baden and FREE are not only important as a part of programming our judges, he has shown he has great influence at the SCOTUS level as well (remember I began this with a segment on the use of Amicus briefs used at the federal and SCOTUS levels of our judiciary).  Here is Baden, his wife and FREE’s Associate Director Pete Geddes with Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas at a Heritage Foundation President’s dinner:

SCOTUS Thomas at Heritage Presidential Dinner

Here is a muckety chart showing the connections between Justice Thomas and the Koch cabal…

Harlan R. Crow affiliations

Notice that near the center of this graph, you find beside Thomas: Charles G. Koch foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, American Enterprise Institute, Coors and Castlerock Foundation, Scaife Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and from there it widens out to include most of the cabal organizations, foundations and individuals involved.

In this graph, you’ll find the connections between Justice Thomas’ law clerk, Naomi Rao and other organizations. (RAO was a witness against the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor – and links to the Bush administration:

Neomi Rao

Much of the policy, legislation and resolutions the seminars provide to judges are based upon pro-corporate pursuit and are/were financially beneficial to not only the Koch brothers (personally), but to ALEC’s corporate membership; ExxonMobil, AT&T, Koch Industries, PhRMA, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, their Insurance company members, etc.  Not only is Koch’s interests and that of the corporate members assisted through this form of judicial influence, but also other Conservative “foundations” which help fund the cabal’s overall “free market” pursuits.

Arguments that “we’re only doing what other bi-partisan organizations are doing” is bullshit.  As the above demonstrates, all of this is being done to advance an agenda that is totally partisan and dedicated to the views and positions held by one political group – a minority view.  This is how the conservative faction has become able to successfully pursue their vision of democracy and America over the objections raised by the majority.  We now can clearly see all their activities; the model legislation, resolutions, judicial and legislative influences and the corruption bought through campaign contributions.  It all has a purpose, design and end goal…none of which any of us as true Americans will accept or condone.  One glaring example of their pursuits and influence is demonstrated by looking at the Citizen’s United SCOTUS decision and how that has benefited the GOP party – and in particular the conservative faction of that party owned, operated and controlled by the likes of Grover Norquist and Karl Rove.  Look what has happened in America since that single SCOTUS decision brought to us in part through the cooperation of Thomas, Scalia and Alito – all with ties to the Federalist Society and Koch money.

Between ALEC’s Federal Forum Task Force, their Amicus Project and these seminars, our federal judiciary is continuously “educated” in the ways of the cabal and the pro-corporate positions advanced.  At the core of these efforts are several key players; the Koch brothers (obviously), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, George Mason University, Heritage Foundation and Mackinac Center, etc.  The tools used include not just pro-corporate seminars and filing briefs to the same judges – it also includes placement of key “clerks” and “interns” close to these judges and SCOTUS.  With the constant pressure, influence and being in close proximity to individuals representing the cabal, the trend of our courts to lean to the right in many of their decisions and opinions is not surprising.  What is surprising is the fact that all of this has been ongoing for decades and operating quietly under the radar of us all.  They have been so successful that by 2012 this has become the “norm” for political and judicial reporting.  Too many of our large media outlets are now compromised and for those of us operating in “alternative” media outlets, our audiences simply are not large enough to have a substantial impact.  This all works to the benefit of the cabal – who collectively now own or control more than 85% of the US news outlets.

We can ill afford to allow this status quo to continue.  VLTP and our Abolish ALEC group on DK have worked for months on end to research, compile and prepare these investigative reports for Daily Kos readers and Progressive voters.  It is important to make this material available to all – yes, even Republicans who are blissfully unaware of the corrupt influences such as those described above, being wielded under the GOP banner, should be made aware and forced to make a choice as our country moves forward.

In upcoming segments we’ll introduce many to the cabal’s involvement with foreign government representatives (without the knowledge of those nations) to develop U.S. policies and laws…and we’ll provide a true and accurate comparison between the NCSL and ALEC.

Be sure and visit our website at www.vltp.net for the latest news, articles and opinions on ALEC and the cabal.  If interested in research interning, send us an email through the website.  If you have information, ideas or documents, contact us through the website and let’s all work together to disinfect ALEC and the cabal and remove them from our democracy altogether.

ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & “The Amicus Project” – Fed Court Interference

A VLTP Special Report – by Bob Sloan, re-posted from Daily Kos.

This is a lengthy but highly important article.  We cut it down and took out sections we intend to include in subsequent Exposé’s on ALEC and in so doing realized that the single issue of ALEC’s interference in our judiciary still requires a two part segment.  This first part will deal with theALEC Amicus Project – the “front door” access to judges.  Part two will introduce readers to the “back door” access used to attempt to ensure the cabal receives favorable outcomes in important cases.  This link shows just a few of the cases ALEC informs they have filed amicus briefs in.

Let us provide that the use of amicus briefs is not in itself problematic and many lawyers, businesses and organizations have genuine need to use amicus briefing as a way of voicing their positions on important matters.  ALEC and the cabal have exploited this provision unashamedly to advance an agenda important to their members and corporate interests.  For this reason, it is important that you see just how this has been done and the results of their interference.

For you to fully comprehend and understand; each initiative of ALEC, what the cabal is, the members and how they work collectively behind curtains to first disenfranchise and ultimately to control all three branches of our government and through them – us – It is important to provide all the information possible regarding each piece of this complex operation. For that reason – grab your favorite beverage, lean back and prepare to enter the dark underside of ALEC’s influence upon our judiciary…all the way to the SCOTUS.
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Our last exposé informed you of ALEC’s secret memberships; lifetime, subscription and “Full” (which allows foreign officials to hold ALEC memberships).  While this is nefarious in and of itself, when considered in conjunction with ALEC’s (until now) hidden interference with our judicial system, the situation is much worse.

Below the fold you will be introduced to an entirely new function of the ALEC/Koch cabal that has been long hidden from view.  The below screen capture introduces you to the ALEC “Amicus Project”.  For those who are unfamiliar with the term or purpose of “Amicus briefing” it is the manner in which those with keen interests in the outcome of a state or federal court case or issue, can present an argument to the court on behalf of the Plaintiff, Respondent or the issue(s) to be determined.  These are referred to more commonly as “friend of the Court” briefs.

Amicus Project header capture

 

A few years ago ALEC developed an initiative allowing them to advance their ideological agenda of “Jeffersonian principles, free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty” straight into the ears of state and federal judges – including the SCOTUS – in key cases involving education, gun rights, Telecom issues, 1st Amendment rights, takings laws (eminent domain), environment and federal regulations.  Already having huge influence within state and federal legislatures and executive branches, this project would allow ALEC and the cabal a way to extend that influence to the judicial branch – state and federal.

Though our three branches of government are crafted to be separate and co-equal departments, serving to balance the three and provide safeguards or “checks” against abuse or usurpation of power by each of the other branches – ALEC and the cabal have found a way around those safeguards.

ALEC propagates a wide range of “model legislation” that seeks to make it more difficult for people to hold corporations accountable in court; gut the rights and protections of workers and consumers; encumber health care reform; privatize and weaken the public education system; provide business tax cuts and corporate welfare; privatize and cut public services; erode regulations and environmental laws; create unnecessary voter ID requirements; endorse Citizens United; diminish campaign finance reform; and permit greater corporate influence in elections.  This diary explains how ALEC is able to advance their agenda – through influence used to secure favorable judicial decisions from our state and federal courts.

In reality this two-part Exposé is the best example of the “cabal.” ALEC and their corporate and legislative members, “alumni” and lobbyists working collectively and using funding from the Koch brothers to exert control.  They actually are a cabal as you will begin to realize at the end of the Exposé series.  You will see the way in which they coordinate, work together and pursue issues collectively to present a unified voice and support for each other as they pursue their agenda(s) in both the Legislative and Judicial branches of our democratic system.

As ALEC began to understand how intensely we were researching and pursuing them last year following the Cincy Protest in April, they worked to scrub their site clean, removing links to anything they considered even remotely incriminating or that could be used to expose their activities to the masses.  In this manner they hoped to throw researchers and analysts off the scent.  Thankfully we grabbed hundreds of pages from their site and those we missed we quickly retrieved from the WayBack Archive.

One of the links ALEC eliminated was any reference to what they termed the “Amicus Project.”  There are still traces of their participation in this program created and used as a means of attempting to influence courts by the filing of Amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs, but this ALEC Project itself is now hidden from sight.

The SCOTUS decision in the Affordable Care Act case, provides us with by far the best example of the individuals and organizations included in the cabal; how they work in a coordinated manner to increase their reach, influence, power and the volume of their voice in key legal determinations made by each of our state and federal courts.

In the Florida (NFIB) V. Sebilius case decided in June, there were many amicus briefs filed on both sides in the healthcare issues.  On behalf of the NFIB however (a member of ALEC), there were an extraordinary number of briefs filed in support that were filed by ALEC and the rest of their cabal supporting repeal of the ACA.  These were not simply unified briefs, with ALEC joining the Pacific Research Institute, the NFIB, Cato, etc…no, the cabal members filed individual briefs.  In addition ALEC members and alumni filed separate briefs; FORMER U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIALS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTSthat included former US AG’s, Ashcroft and Edwin Meese; BRIEF FOR AMICI CURIAE ECONOMISTS IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTS REGARDING INDIVIDUAL MANDATE that included economist Art Laffer (ALEC Scholar) and over one hundred other “economists” from: George Mason University, Hillsdale College, American Action Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center, RAND Corp.,Hudson Institute, Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, Manhattan Institute, Mercatus Center, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Cato Institute  Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and dozens of universities and colleges affiliated with ALEC and/or receiving funding from the Koch family foundations.

Above you see economists from the CATO institute joining and filing an amicus in the case…then there’s this: BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE CATO INSTITUTE, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION, 14 OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, AND 333 STATE LEGISLATORS SUPPORTING RESPONDENTS (INDIVIDUAL MANDATE ISSUE), giving CATO in effect two voices in one key case.  Reason and Heritage were not going to be left out either; BRIEF OF CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL JURISPRUDENCE, JUDICIAL EDUCATION PROJECT, REASON FOUNDATION, THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, ENDING SPENDING, INC., AND FORMER SENATORS GEORGE LEMIEUX AND HANK BROWN AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTS

Also included in the list of ALEC alum/members filing briefs; AMICI CURIAE BRIEF OF THE AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW & JUSTICE, 119 MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS,that included ALEC’s second highest member of the U.S. House, Eric Cantor…and another by the Goldwater Institute; “AMICUS BRIEF ON BEHALF OF CITIZENS AND LEGISLATORS IN THE FOURTEEN HEALTH CARE FREEDOM STATES IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTS” that included 100+ state and federal lawmakers, many which are ALEC members.  Speaker Boehner (ALEC’s highest ALUM in Congress) filed his own Amicus; “BRIEF OF SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTS ON THE MINIMUM COVERAGE PROVISION ISSUE.”  Additionally, piling on, if you will, this brief; “BRIEF OF MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENTS ON THEMINIMUM COVERAGE PROVISION ISSUE” was filed with amici listed as:

“Amici Curiae United States Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senators Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, Kelly Ayotte, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, Daniel Coats, Tom Coburn, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Jim DeMint, Michael Enzi, Chuck Grassley, Dean Heller, John Hoeven, Kay Bailey Hutchison, James Inhofe, Johnny Isakson, Mike Johanns, Ron Johnson, Jon Kyle, Mike Lee, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, James Risch, Pat Roberts, Marco Rubio, Richard Shelby, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, Patrick Toomey, David Vitter, and Roger Wicker are United States Senators serving in the One Hundred Twelfth Congress…”

and many listed are acknowledged ALEC alum/members.Other notable conservative groups or organizations affiliated with ALEC/Koch that also filed as amici in the ACA case include:
Mountain States Legal Foundation
Chamber of Commerce
Pacific Research Institute (Ties to ALEC)
Galen Institute (a partner organization to the Charles Koch Foundation)
Liberty Legal Foundation
Liberty University
American Civil Rights Union (affiliated with ALEC and funded by the Bradley Foundation).
Independence Institute (Koch Funded)
Institute for Justice (Ties to ALEC) (Funded jointly by Charles and David Koch)
Mountain States Legal Foundation (Funded by Coors’ Castle Rock Foundation, and ALEC member/supporter)
CATO INSTITUTE, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION,14 OTHER ORGANIZATIONS (all of these are funded or supported by Koch foundations. CEI is funded by donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Past and present funders include the Scaife Foundations, Exxon Mobil, the Ford Motor Company Fund, Pfizer, and the Earhart Foundation).
Rutherford Institute (which just published an article in support of ALEC and opposing protesting their Annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this month)
Senator Paul Rand
Washington Legal Foundation (funded by Koch foundations)
In addition to affiliation with ALEC and receiving funding from Koch and Bradley foundations,Koch’s Institute for Humane Studies provides interns to many of the institutes, foundations and organizations that filed the foregoing briefs.

The listing of briefs filed in the US Supreme Court in the Florida case, are matched by the briefs filed in the Virginia v. Sebilius case – by some of the same parties:
Washington Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (citing ALEC’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act”).
Economic Scholars
American Center For Law and Justice and 49 Members of the US House
(Also citing ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act)
CATO Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, American Life League, Inc., Institute on the Constitution, the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Public Advocate of the United States, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Liberty Committee, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, and Policy Analysis Center – Gun owners opposing national healthcare…who would have thought that?
American Civil Rights Union
26 US States also filed in both cases (Florida and Virginia).  This is important when considering the costs of pursuing not only the litigation, but the Amicus filings and costs thereof.  Here is apartial list of the states filing amicus briefs in these cases:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona,
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi,
Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Texas, Utah, and Washington.

It would be redundant to list the names of those parties who filed amicus briefs to the original district courts in Florida and Virginia…I think the foregoing adequately demonstrates the huge movement to overturn the ACA law.But how about other key issues involving: 2nd Amendment, Education, Tort Reform, 1st Amendment, Telecommunication, Environmental and Imminent Domain?   Asbestos “reform” legislation?  We find this pattern involving the same organizations, institutes and foundations…including ALEC.

Tobacco litigation before the SCOTUS in 2006 against ALEC member Phillip Morris (now Altria): Philip Morris USA v. Mayola Williams, Personal Representative of the Estate of Jesse D. Williams, Deceased, case No. 05-1256 (from Oregon, 2006 on punitive damages award).

This landmark case was filed March 30, 2006 and on May 1 the Chamber of Commerce filed the initial Amicus brief.  By July the American Tort Reform Association, CATO Institute, Washington Legal Foundation, National Association of Manufacturers and the Pacific Legal Foundation had joined the Chamber as amici along with RJ Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco Co (Reynolds and Lorillard both involved with ALEC on Tobacco Tort Reform legislation going back to 1995).  That same month the Chamber and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed their second amicus briefs.  The case was decided in favor of the cabal, reversed and remanded in a 5-4 decision.

On Union dues used for political activities (involving ?Paycheck Protection) one of ALEC‘s model Acts – was challenged in Washington State.first Amendment: GUY DAVENPORT, ET AL. v. WASHINGTON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Nos. 05-1589 & 05-1657:

Amici included;
ALEC
Mackinac Center
CATO Institute, Center for Individual Freedom and the Reason Foundation
Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation
Institute for Justice
Mountain States Legal Foundation
Pacific Research Institute

This was so unusual in such a case that the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation published an article on the number of Amicus briefs filed  (35 altogether).

There are literally dozens upon dozens of similarly important cases involving the same CABAL.  Hundreds of Amicus briefs are filed at both the state and federal levels in support of ALEC model legislation when it is challenged.  It doesn’t have to be ALEC model legislation under a challenge, just something important to business or corporate members of ALEC.

2nd Amendment (gun rights),

McDonald v. City of Chicago, SCOTUS 08-1521 (decided 6/2010.  Amici included:

American Legislative Exchange Council
Rutherford Institute
Heartland Institute
CATO  and Pacific Legal Foundation
891 State Legislators
SENATOR KAYBAILEY HUTCHISON, SENATOR JON TESTER,REPRESENTATIVE MARK SOUDER,REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROSS, AND 56ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OF UNITED STATESSENATE AND 249 ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OFUNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESIN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS
AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Institute for Justice
Goldwater Institute
Eagle Forum
States of Texas, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
Family Research Counsel, et al.

Healthcare (First Amendment free speech):

Sorrell V. IMS (SCOTUS).  So many briefs filed between the district court and SCOTUS decision, I can’t include all of them here…suffice to say ALEC, CATO, CoC, Pacific Legal Foundation, Tommy Thompson, REED ELSEVIER, New England Legal Foundation and dozens of commercial healthcare agencies, organizations and associations listed at the foregoing link.

A key issue that has been vigorously pursued and protected is ALEC’s model legislation – “Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act“.  In 2009 ALEC registered two lobbyists in NDto make presentations to the state assembly in an attempt to get passage of this legislation.  They also sent the same “lobbyist” Mark Behrens (attorney Shook Hardy and Bacon) to state legislatures to lobby for passage of this legislation.

In a case in WA State, in 2008 an attorney arguing against an amicus brief filed in the case by Mark Behrens and Victor Schwartz (SHB lobby group and ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Adviser and Chairman, respectively) spoke out about Behrens and Schwartz.  He identified both as having represented many other clients, writing research papers  and representing the American Tort Reform Association – yet appearing in the WA. case as an “Amicus” without advising the court as to their vested interest in the litigation on behalf of their clients and ALEC.

In a Texas Supreme Court case, where ALEC member and Shook, Hardy and Bacon client, Crown Cork and Seal Company, Inc. were defending a suit, SHB not only represented Crown Cork…they also represented Amici including; the Texas Civil Justice League, the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business (legal foundation) and the National Association of Manufacturers.  SHB top counsel and ALEC Civil Justice TF Dir and advisor, Victor Schwartz and Mark Behrens argued the case for Crown Cork and Seal.

In 2007 Schwartz and SHB filed similar amicus briefs in a CA. asbestos case in the state supreme court (Watts Regulator Co.). Amici included; Chamber of Commerce, Coalition for Litigation Justice, American Tort Reform Association, NFIB legal foundation.

Schwartz, Behrens and ALEC are also heavily involved in tort “reform” legislation/litigation.  As provided at SourceWatch’s ALEC Exposed site, ALEC has crafted dozens and dozens of tort reform and other legislation limiting liability of corporations.

In 2008, in a PA. Supreme Court case involving tort liability, SHB’s Schwartz and Behrens represented the defendant in; Bugosh v. I.U. North America, Inc., No.7 WAP. 2008.  Amicus were the usual suspects listed above in the asbestos litigation.

In 2010 in a Nevada Supreme Court case, TERESA BAHENA V. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Case No. 49207, Schwartz represented ALEC’s amici interest in this product liability case.  Other amici were; CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
INDEPENDENT BUSINESS SMALL BUSINESS LEGAL CENTER, AMERICAN TORT REFORM ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN INSURANCE ASSOCIATION and the AMERICAN CHEMISTRY COUNCIL.

In cases where SHB and Schwartz and/or Behrens represent ALEC member corporations, he brings on the amicus briefs by the usual suspects.  In a Supreme court case in AL. three ALEC member pharmaceutical companies sued Alabama; Astrazeneca, Smithkline Beecham and Novartis V. Alabama, (2006) the amicus brief was filed by; National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute.  The case involved state attorney generals hiring private attorneys to prosecute entire industries.

Whether the issues directly involve ALEC legislation or SHB, Schwartz or the usual amici, they are brought into key legislation in support of corporations who find themselves in liability trouble.  In re Bridgestone/Firestone N. Am. Tire, LLC et al., No. 02-0944, amicus brief filed (Tex. May 20, 2003) amici included; National Association of Manufacturers, the American Tort Reform Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

All the way back in 1997 ALEC SHB and the usual suspects were using amicus briefing to influence key tort reform decisions in state supreme court cases.  In State ex rel. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers v. Sheward, 86 Ohio St.3d 451, 1999-Ohio-123 involving tort reform, amici included;
American Legislative Exchange Council
National Federation of Independent Businesses
Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc.
National Association of Manufactures
American Tort Reform Association

The Ohio case involved questions of constitutionality of legislation adopted and passed by the Ohio legislature that affected Realtor’s and others who claimed the legislation was unconstitutional.  SHB (Schwartz) represented the NFIB, the Tort Reform Association, NAM and the Product Liability Advisory Council (Behrens was co-counsel for the PLAC).  SHB ALEC and the others supported the position of the state arguing the legislation was constitutional. The state lost this one.

Is the pattern becoming clear? Is the appearance of unified support by cabal members in/on key issues apparent?

Finally we come to the historic Citizens United SCOTUS decision.  Dozens of Amicus briefs were filed in this case – which ALEC endorsed.

Amici supporting Citizens United include;

Foundation for Free Expression
CATO Institute
Center for Competitive Politics
Wyoming Liberty GroupGoldwater Institute
United States Chamber of Commerce
Institute for Justice
Pacific Legal Foundation
NRA
American Civil Rights Union
Senator Mitch McConnell
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Center for Competitive Politics

The foregoing demonstrates how the ALEC/Koch cabal are able to use their vast influence to whisper in the ear of our state and federal judges…and the U.S.Supreme Court.  They do it quietly, without fanfare or the media reporting on these efforts to influence important judicial decisions.  Legislators who have the elected duty to pass legislation on behalf of their “constituents” have done their job once the legislation is passed and signed by the Governor (if state law) or the President (if federal law). It is then the duty of our state and federal judiciary to rule upon those passed laws once a challenge is brought before the court by citizens.

ALEC and the corporate members are unwilling to allow the courts to make factual and unbiased decisions in key cases – based upon the merits alone.  Instead they weigh in at every stage of litigation, filing a huge number of briefs in support of the position held by ALEC or their member corporations, legislators or the conservative ideology being advanced.  This practice presents the courts with the impression that there is a vast number of diverse parties supporting one side or the other of an issue.  In many cases the court adopts sections of the amicus filings in their final decisions, so these efforts do influence important opinions that once made, determine “controlling laws” (no pun intended).

If/when the President or his Executive administration attempt to weigh in on key cases, Congress cries foul, saying the Executive branch is unfairly trying to influence the Judicial branch…while those representing the cabal in the Legislative branch are doing precisely that.  From the foregoing we’ve established that it isn’t simply the corporations, foundations and institutes representing the cabal who use these briefs to influence the courts, many of the cases such as the ACA and Citizen’s United, have briefs filed by Congressional members (McConnell, Cantor, Boehner and others affiliated with ALEC).  In the ACA litigation, hundreds of conservative Republican members of Congress and state Assemblies filed briefs to overturn “Obamacare”.

Bad enough that corporations through ALEC are able to write and propose pro-corporate legislation…but once they succeed matters are made worse by their ability to then have the opportunity to use the same lawmakers to influence the court’s decisions on their behalf to ensure a favorable outcome.

Today this “Amicus Project” concept is being used throughout our court system by the cabal.  They use it successfully to secure such favorable opinions in; telecommunications, labor, union, education, environmental, insurance, healthcare and criminal justice cases – to name just a few of their initiatives.

We as “constituents”, “voters” and simply “citizens” have no representation to present our side of any issue or case.  Those who are elected and have the duty of such representation have been co-opted, their loyalty and pursuits dedicated to the corporations, foundations, institutions and organizations who can/will/are contributing to keeping them in office and power.  Those organizations who still have some form of voice to represent us; labor groups, unions and liberal groups…are under full attack from the entire cabal who are trying to silence even the last whispers of objection to their subversion of our democracy.

Recently ALEC has claimed that their operations and activities are no different than those of the National Counsel of State Legislators (NCSL).  This argument and/or claim is disingenuous at best.  Yes the NCSL has a provision for submitting Amicus briefs – to the SCOTUS.  Here is theirrule regarding such Amicus efforts:

“[E] The decision to name NCSL as an amicus curiae on briefs filed before the U.S. Supreme Court shall be by unanimous agreement of the NCSL President, the NCSL Immediate Past President, the NCSL President-Elect, the NCSL Vice President, the legislator Co-Chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees, the Legislator Co-Chairs of the Law and Criminal Justice Committee and legislator Co-Chairs of other standing committees that have jurisdiction over the question to be resolved by the amicus brief. In the event any person voting indicates a veto, the President may initiate a conference call to allow for discussion and to confirm each person’s vote.”

In other words, such a decision to weigh in on judicial matters, the NCSL limits such involvement to the Supreme Court, does not “partner” or coordinate with other “liberal” or “Progessive” organizations and they do not interfere at the state or federal level beneath the SCOTUS – and their participation in amicus briefing is usually limited to protecting the rights of voters and citizens, not corporate advancement.  The requirement that any amicus involvement requires the current and past presidents of the NCSL to sign on, is because the NCSL is truly bipartisan and leadership changes yearly from Republican to Democrat and back.  ALEC and the cabal they belong to present only the conservative ideologies and agenda in the briefs they file trying to influence judicial decisions.  Historically, their amicus involvement involves protecting the pro-corporate legislation they have been able to enact and to also protect corporate interests in key cases.  What you won’t find is a NCSL amicus filing in the ACA, Citizens United or other constitutional matters before SCOTUS or any of the lower federal courts.Issues pursued by the NCSL in amicus filings? Nuclear regulatory decisionsNCSL signed onto an amicus curiae brief filed by State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) in the Supreme Court which argued that two Secret Service agents should be immune from a First Amendment retaliatory arrest lawsuit. In an Indianapolis case, NCSL signed onto an amicus curiae brief filed by State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) in the Supreme Court which argued that the City of Indianapolis didn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause when it forgave the assessments of homeowners who paid for sewer improvements in multi-year installments but issued no refunds to homeowners who paid for the same improvements in a lump sum.  Joining that amicus were the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, and the United States Conference of Mayors.

I urge readers to go out and do a search for both ALEC and the NCSL combined with amicus briefs filed.  You will quickly ascertain that there are vast differences in both ideology and purposes.  For ALEC and the cabal, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of these amicus briefs that have been filed at all levels of our judiciary.  Too damn many to list them all.  They are assisted in this by several law firms working month after month writing and presenting these briefs on behalf of the cabal.  Who pays for this representation? Filing fees and research?  Where in ALEC’s annual IRS 990 forms are they declaring the expenditures on such amicus activities?

As we’ve shown in this expose, they are a collective, working together; institutes, foundations, corporations, lawmakers, organizations all with an agenda of advancing the ultra-right minority conservative ideologies across all forms of our government and democracy.

Keep in mind they have a forty year head start….and this is the network they have built:
koch cabal chart.  Click on the link and see for yourself, the chart is interactive.

And ALEC:
imageDownload (2)
is only one branch of the entire cabal led by the Koch brothers.

In the next segment we will inform you of the “back door” used by the cabal to further guarantee favorable outcomes from the judiciary – free trips, seminars and gifts to federal judges and select Supreme Court Justices.

Much more to come and all of it documented, vetted and fact checked.

What Hath Roberts Wrought?

But Roberts is a conservative, and a very smart, forward-looking one at that.  What Roberts accomplished on one issue was to enshrine two conservative ideologies — without the Democrats even noticing while they were cheering.  He did this by using the Court’s ability to turn metaphors into law. He accomplished this with two votes.

…First he was the swing vote that imposed the idea that Health Care Is A Product and set the stage for a possible general principle: The Interstate Commerce Clause governs the buying and selling of products and the government cannot force anyone to people to buy a product (real or metaphorical).

Second, Roberts was the swing vote on the ruling that saved the Affordable Health Care Act by creating a precedent for another metaphorical legal principle: A fee or payment imposed by the government is a tax. 

In short, in his votes on one single issue, Roberts single-handedly extended the power of the Court to turn metaphor into law in two conservative directions.

Don’t miss this fascinating explanation by George Lakoff about what was missed in the euphoria of the ACA last week,  please click here to read it in its entirety.

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Affordable Health Care – In Plain English

Even before the Supreme Court issued its ruling on NFIB v. Sebelius, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Fox News and CNN both announced that “Dewey Beats Truman”.  And the rhetoric from the right wing has only become more wrong, more obfuscating, more incredibly uninformed.  Of course part of this is just the GOP applying the Ailes doctrine of “repeat it enough times and people will believe it”.  They can’t win the bout on points, so they are resorting to low blows.

But this, like so many things about the entire right wing strategy as devised by their think tanks depends on one critical factor–an uninformed public.  “The best disinfectant is sunlight” is how Justice Brandeis put it.

With all the misinformation and purposeful disinformation out there, and I’m not a lawyer, how do I get to understand what the Supreme Court ruling means?  Well, first of all it needs to have an impartial writer.  Secondly, the impartial writer needs to be able to take complex constitutional issues and transform them into plain old English.

So I turned to a site that I heard about that only does one thing–report on Supreme Court actions.   It went methodically through the ruling so that even I could understand the subtleties of all of the issues involved.

So if you will click here, when you are confronted by the B.S. of those who don’t know, or those who don’t want you to know, you can take them to school.

 

 

Second ALEC-Approved Law Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court

In a little-noticed ruling amidst clamor over the healthcare decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, holding it was preempted by the National Voting Registration Act (NVRA). The law was adopted as a “model” bill by the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] in 2008. For the second time in one week, the conservative U.S. Supreme Court has curtailed ALEC’s anti-immigrant agenda.

On June 28, the Supreme Court dealt the ALEC agenda another blow by declining to stay a ruling by the Ninth Circuit holding that Arizona’s Proposition 200 (the ALEC Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act) was preempted by the NVRA. The NVRA, also known as the “Motor Voter Act,” was designed to make voter registration more simple and unified. Arizona’s refusal to accept federal voter registration forms without proof of citizenship, the Ninth Circuit held, imposed additional restrictions beyond what was called for under the federal law.

To read the all of the details about the latest results to this Russell Pearce/Jan Brewer/ALEC, please click here.

Justice Scalia must resign

by E,J. Dionne of the Washington Post

So often, Scalia has chosen to ignore the obligation of a Supreme Court justice to be, and appear to be, impartial. He’s turned “judicial restraint” into an oxymoronic phrase. But what he did this week, when the court announced its decision on the Arizona immigration law, should be the end of the line.

Not content with issuing a fiery written dissent, Scalia offered a bench statement questioning President Obama’s decision to allow some immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children to stay. Obama’s move had nothing to do with the case in question. Scalia just wanted you to know where he stood.

To read E.J. Dionne’s complete article at the Washington Post, please click here

In Arizona dissent, Scalia blasts Obama’s deportation stay, immigration policies

Justice Antonin Scalia criticized President Barack Obama’s announcement earlier this month that he would stay the deportation of young illegal immigrants and suggested that the federal government does not want to enforce its immigration laws…

…Scalia also repeatedly referenced Obama’s policy of prosecutorial discretion…

…Scalia directly referred to Obama’s immigration enforcement policy as “lax”…

…Arizona’s entire immigration law should be upheld, Scalia wrote, because it is “entitled” to make its own immigration policy. At one point, he cites the fact that before the Civil War, Southern states could exclude free blacks from their borders to support the idea that states should be able to set their own immigration policies.

Ron’s personal opinion:  Scalia is clearly not rational when it comes to anything having to do with President Obama, as he opined more about politics and the President, than about the law in his dissent to the court’s decision.  And if he wants a return to pre-civil war civil rights, a predisposition to racism is apparent in his personal beliefs which prevent him from interpreting the law impartially--as a Supreme Court Justice is charged..  If it was not for a republican majority in the House of Representative, he should be impeached–but the House is not going to impeach one of its own.

To read more about Scalia, and the way he thinks, click here.

In the Face of Judicial Tyranny Alan Grayson Outs SCOTUS’s Right Wing Cabal

Alan Grayson warned the Supreme Court that if they strike down Obamacare, the entire country will know that they are nothing more than a right wing cabal.

Here is a link to the video from MSNBC:   http://youtu.be/8j-TfxtQnws [on theVLTPVideoChannel]

…..Grayson’s comment that it will be clear to everyone that the Supreme Court will be a right wing cabal implied that it is already clear to people who follow politics that the court is a right wing cabal, but overturning the ACA would make it obvious to everyone in the country.

The fact that it isn’t obvious, even after the Citizens United ruling, is the reason why the Supreme Court can continue to get away with their activist right wing rewriting and reimagining of the constitution with such little public outcry. Most Americans aren’t paying attention. The modern era of Supreme Court conservative judicial activism began with handing George W. Bush the presidency in 2000, but even then, the American people said comparatively little.

To read this interview, please click here

Supreme Court to Discuss “Citizens United” Tomorrow in Light of Montana Supreme Court Challenge

The key issue toward restoring our democracy is back before the Supreme Court, who’ll meet behind closed doors on Thursday.

That key issue is of course the “Citizens United” ruling the Court made in January 2010 that gave corporations the same rights as people, brought about Super Pac’s and the gusher of money into the electoral process that is completely corrupting that process in favor of big moneyed corporate, private and special interests.

The “Citizens” ruling is back before the Supreme Court because the Montana Supreme Court earlier this year refused to strike down a one hundred year old state restriction banning corporate money in the states elections. That Montana Court ruling was appealed and thus goes before SCOTUS on Thursday.

The Supremes could write a summary opinion justifying why their “Citizens United” ruling was correct or decide to hear the case in the fall and reconsider their 2010 ruling.

Cross your fingers that perhaps sanity will reign, and read the entire articlehere