Back when the issue of judicial confirmations was heating up in the Senate, at the center of the Republican efforts to confirm controversial nominees was Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Justice. As a member of the “Four Horsemen” along with C. Boyden Gray, Edwin Meese III, and Leonard Leo, Sekulow was a inside player in the battle over the “nuclear option” and the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Along the way, Sekulow created a new group called The Judicial Confirmation Network that was designed to give the appearance of grassroots support for the efforts:
It was a subtle bit of targeting that dovetailed with another project under way in an office just above the radio studio. That’s where Gary A. Marx, head of the grass-roots arm of Mr. Sekulow’s campaign, was meeting with a Maine activist ginning up telephone calls, letters and editorials aimed at pushing Ms. Collins into the antifilibuster camp.
In the 2004 campaign, Mr. Marx, 29, was the Bush-Cheney national conservative coalition director who helped organize church-sponsored voter drives in Ohio. In January, Mr. Sekulow invited Mr. Marx to set up the Judicial Confirmation Network in his offices so they could combine forces.
Mr. Sekulow uses his Senate contacts to track the status of the debate and identify wavering lawmakers. While he targets them on the radio or through his regular emails, Mr. Marx follows up with state-based groups that can be important to a senator’s political career.
The JCN quickly made a name for itself, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the efforts only to become little more than a shell once the battles were over. Little was heard from its two employees, Gary Marx and Wendy Long, until both showed up on Mitt Romney’s National Faith and Values Steering Committee and, in the meantime, the JCN essentially went dark, having not even issued a press release since July of 2007. Until today, that is, when Long resurfaced to attack Barack Obama for his answer during a question at Rick Warren’s faith forum about which Supreme Court judges he would not have nominated:
All this speaks volumes about the kind of judges Obama would appoint, and the way he would fill several potential vacancies at the Supreme Court that could arise during the next President’s term in office. Obama wants Justices who will do his bidding, who will implement the preferred policies of the liberal establishment – not Justices like Thomas, Scalia, Roberts and Alito, who understand that the role of a judge is not to legislate from the bench.
But that was apparently enough to get her quoted at length in an article on FoxNews.com:
“Apparently, Obama can do no better than to recycle discredited statements of Harry Reid when it comes to Justice Thomas. Like other liberal elites, Obama cannot stand it when a black man strays from the ideological plantation and refuses to implement liberal policies through the courts. But Obama will never point out any intellectual deficiencies in Justice Thomas’s work, because he can’t. Justice Thomas’s opinions consistently reveal faithfulness to the Constitution, judicial modesty and deference to the will of the people in our representative democracy. That is opposed to everything that Obama and the liberals are trying to do in grabbing power from the people and giving it to the courts,” she said.