Committee for Justice
Launched at the behest of Senate Republicans and initially led by right-wing stalwart C. Boyden Gray, the Committee for Justice exists primarily for the purpose of providing the appearance of "grassroots" support and activism for President George W. Bush's judicial nominees.
1275 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Chairmen: C. Boyden Gray, Ronald A. Cass (former Dean of Boston University School of Law), Spencer Abraham (former Senator, former Secretary of Energy under George W. Bush, co-founder of the Federalist Society)
Place/Date of Founding: Washington, D.C. in 2002 by former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and Sean Rushton
Executive Director: Sean Rushton
Board of Directors: C. Boyden Gray, Edward M. Rogers, and Edwin Williamson (all former members of George H.W. Bush's administration)
Board Members: Frank Keating (President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers), Connie Mack, Jennifer C. Braceras (Senior Fellow at the Independent Women's Forum), John Engler (former Michigan governor and current President of National Association of Manufacturers), among others.
Finances: $26,250 (2003 revenue); $122,611 (2003 expenses)
Publications: Online "Daily Blog" and numerous television ads promoting judicial nominees.
Affiliate Groups: Committee for Justice Foundation
- The Committee for Justice (CFJ) is staffed by legal scholars and practitioners, and was created for the purpose of promoting and supporting constitutionalist (as opposed to "activist") judicial nominees to the federal courts. It strives to educate the public on the importance of judges and the court system to American life.
- CFJ defines "constitutionalism" as "the belief that a judge's proper role is as neutral interpreter of the natural law, not as pioneer of new law or social policy through judicial activism."
About C. Boyden Gray
- Partner at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering and lobbyist for corporate clients such as Citigroup, Inc.
- In 2002, Gray was recruited by Representative Trent Lott to start an organization specifically tailored to oppose the filibuster of judicial nominees in the Senate. With additional support from Bush political strategist Karl Rove, Gray formed the CFJ, and began his mission to raise funds from corporate sources.
- Gray has strong ties to the Bush family; at the onset of CFJ, George H.W. Bush— for whom Gray had worked as Legal Counsel and Counsel to the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief while Bush was Vice President; and later as Director of the Office of Transition Counsel for the Bush transition team and Counsel to President Bush from 1989-1993— threw a large fund-raising cocktail party in his Houston home, raising $250,000 for the new organization. Gray served as Counsel to the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, chaired by Vice President Bush, then later as Director of the Office of Transition Counsel for the Bush transition team, and as Counsel to the first President Bush from 1989-1993. In 1993 he returned to William Cutler & Pickering.
- Gray sits on the Boards of Progress for America (a conservative group that spent millions in opposition to John F. Kerry's race for the presidency), and FreedomWorks, a nonprofit organization in favor of lower taxes and less government regulation.
- Named Ambassador to European Union by President Bush in July 2005.
- CFJ bolsters support for ultra-conservative judicial nominees, many of whom are opposed by Democratic senators, by strategically airing and publishing advertisements in favor of the nominee in a senator's home state. In August of 2005, CFJ President Rushton reported that his group would be targeting Democratic senators in the red states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Colorado, Indiana, and North and South Dakota with radio ad buys later on in the month.
- The organization has lent its support to nominees such as Charles Pickering, Janice Rogers-Brown, and Miguel Estrada, with ads featuring African-American and Latino politicians.
CFJ was created in 2002 by C. Boyden Gray in order to advocate greater constitutionalism in the federal courts. Its primary goal is to see the conservative Bush nominees through the Senate confirmation process, and does so largely by appealing to the public with television and published advertisements.
"This is a single-issue litmus test that strikes at the heart of an independent judiciary. It proves that the Democratic Party is increasingly focused solely on the issue of abortion on demand. Their greatest fear is a nonpolitical judge who will read the law as it's written."
– Sean Rushton, responding to female U.S. Senators who say that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. unless he vows to uphold abortion rights. Washington Times, July 29, 2005
Updated: May 2006
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