Inside Biden White House's ties to dark money group seeking to pack Supreme Court


President Biden’s White House has close ties to a left-wing dark money group that seeks to expand the Supreme Court.  

Both White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Paige Herwig, Biden’s point person on judicial nominations, previously worked for Demand Justice, which is part of a massive dark money network, the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Demand Justice is open about seeking to overhaul the federal court system to advance progressive goals. 

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“They want to add seats to the Supreme Court, they want to add term limits for justices, they want to overhaul it and swing not just the Supreme Court but all levels of the judiciary more progressive,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of conservative-leaning Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News in an interview.

Psaki worked as a “communications consultant” for Demand Justice, according to her executive branch personnel financial disclosure report. She was also on the advisory board of Supreme Court Voter, which is a project of Demand Justice, although she didn’t disclose that specifically in her disclosure report.

Meanwhile, Herwig was one of Demand Justice’s first hires and served as deputy chief counsel before moving to Facebook.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Sixteen Thirty Fund contributed almost $60 million to PACs supporting President Biden’s 2020 campaign, Sutherland said.

Demand Justice has “an insider in the White House to help usher these judicial nominations through that fit Demand Justice’s criteria,” she said, referring to Herwig.

Demand Justice praised the Biden administration for hiring Herwig in January.

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“President-elect Biden is off to a phenomenal start when it comes to judicial nominations. Paige Herwig is a brilliant lawyer and committed public servant who knows the judicial nomination process inside and out, and she’s been on the front lines of rethinking how Democrats should fight for our courts. No one is better positioned to carry forward President-elect Biden’s commitment to rebalancing our judicial system,” Demand Justice Chief Counsel Christopher Kang said in a statement.

“Lo and behold, that revolving door coming from Demand Justice, which has a vested interest in who our judicial nominees should be,” Sutherland said.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to arguments as local high school students observe a reenactment of a landmark Supreme Court case at U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. 

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to arguments as local high school students observe a reenactment of a landmark Supreme Court case at U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. 
(Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

She pointed to Biden’s nominee to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Merrick Garland, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Biden nominated Jackson, who is on Demand Justice’s Supreme Court shortlist, for a seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, Jackson will join a bench that is considered the second-highest court in the land and has a long tradition of producing Supreme Court justices, including Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and many others. 

“She is a former public defender and Sentencing Commission vice chair, and on the federal bench, she has stood up for the rule of law, holding the Trump administration accountable for its rule-breaking,” Demand Justice wrote in praise of Jackson on its website.

Because the Sixteen Thirty Fund is a so-called dark money group, the donors who fund it and Demand Justice are unknown. It’s one of the largest dark money groups too, Sutherland said.

“Because Demand Justice is trade name of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, we can’t see on their tax returns how much of the overall budget is being spent on Demand Justice,” she said. “They brand themselves in a way that makes them seem like they’re a grassroots group focused on the judiciary.”

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What is known is that Demand Justice is extremely liberal and extremely powerful, Sutherland said.

“They were successful in having Dianne Feinstein step down from the Judiciary Committee,” she said.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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