My heart can't sink much lower... these GOP folks don't play fair. The mental gymnastics and perversion they are using on law is such a stretch--but Leo's appointees to the SCOTUS, and the lower courts as well, may very well be the last nail in the coffin for the American experiment. It is just amazing to watch this in real time. All of this for power? To do what? For money? How much money does a person need? Great column Judd, thank you for doing this.

Expand full comment

Thank you for the work you do Judd. This was another enlightening, but also sadly horrifying, article to read. We moved to NC a few years ago and I am trying to add in more volunteer work and figure out how to help. It's truly overwhelming.

Expand full comment

If the Supreme Court blesses the ISL theory--and horrifyingly, I think that it probably will--it really is "game over" for the Democrats in just about every Red State. Even worse, that will also be the case in at least a few "Purple States", too--Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico come to mind immediately. We might never see a Democrat as President ever again. Hysterical and over the top? Maybe, but people also told me that I was "hysterical and over the top" when I guaranteed that a Trump presidency would result in Roe v. Wade being overruled, and when I guaranteed violence after the 2020 election.

Expand full comment

This is the price of “originalism”; the theory used to elevate minority status to majority rule. Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett should be impeached for perjury in their confirmation hearings testimonies. Thomas should be subpoenaed to testify about his conversations with his wife about public policies she supported which were affected by SCOTUS rulings. Given the malevolent intent of originalists, when and if the Congress is sufficiently Democratic DC should be made a state and SCOTUS reformed ASAP. Thereafter, every dollar of Democratic contributions should be devoted to abolish the Senate. The US should have one legislative body, a House of Representatives, with term limits of 12 years. Each term should be 4 years. In addition, the expenses of candidates in Federal elections should be limited and publicly paid for.

Expand full comment

Judd, Thanks for working on this vital topic. My group of 28 organizations in Maryland met with Sen. Cardin's staff on 8/31 and suggested amendments to the Electoral Count Reform Act to preempt ISLT. I will forward the amendments to you.

Expand full comment

Thank you Judd for this behind the SCOTUS scenes of how to destroy a

democracy from within. But, the Elections Clause of the Constitution

has a caveat to Leo, Eastman and all

these others. "...the CONGRESS may

at any time by Law make or alter such

Regulations." It's imperative that we

hold the House and Senate and if not

the House, more so the Senate. We

must have more belief in ourselves as

a people, that we will not allow our

country, our freedoms to be taken

away by anyone. The Congress is there

to serve the people of our country. We,

as the people, have to make sure they

do their jobs. Congress better get on

this caveat in the Election Clause and

we better help them do it. Again, thank

you Judd.

Expand full comment

They have the money, but we have the people. Activism is called for to defeat the election deniers, to push the Congress to act to counter these troglodyte tendencies. Get busy with Our Revolution, Indivisible, Swing Left, Justice Democrats, Public Citizen, or any of the other groups that are fighting. Please don't just bemoan ... be active.

Expand full comment

Judd this is the most important subject ever disclosed and must be forwarded far and wide.

Cable news, PBS, NPR must discuss this often and clearly.

Expand full comment

Then we really are the Banana Republic of America. Forget states united in anything. THIS is how civil wars begin, when the will of The People isn’t just subverted but completely erased from the rule books. I do believe we can overcome it but it’ll be a long, contentious fight, a slog all the way. Note it’s always the ‘very wealthy’ at the top of the food chain dictating their illegal ideas of ‘states rights’, scrapping We The People AND a more perfect union promoting the general welfare from any mention in our Constitution. The only thing that might save us is the batsh*t crazies running for some of these State seats, who are even too distasteful for many Republican voters. 2022 is again the election of our lifetimes.

Expand full comment

This should give us all pause...what is being attempted here is clear and I am grateful someone is bringing it to the forefront. I am however leery that any of our voices will be heard should we not take hold this coming election cycle. We are in dire straights and the time to act is now, we must vote as though our democracy is in the peril it is.

Expand full comment

Enlightening but more terrifying than usual. We know this is going to happen and it really means that the majority of this country will no longer have an honest vote due to the relentless cheating by powerful lawyers and their untaxed, out of control, filthy rich supporters. If I was younger I would immigrate because their view of the world is one I cannot condone. Now I just have to hope I die before the final denouement.

Expand full comment

Judd, thank you so much for writing this important piece. I don't think the independent state legislature theory is radical. I agree it makes no sense. The conservative literal interpretation of the constitution has been with us since day one of the founding of this country. To call it radical implies its at odds with the law of the land. It IS the law of the land. Don't forget, the Supreme Court upheld Jim Crow for 100 years. What is striking to me, just like the Roe decision, is the total hypocrisy of the "rule of law" party. Conservatives will throw out decades of case law in support of their cause. Like you said, ISL has been rejected for 100 years - the exact 100 years of history conservatives despise. Conservatives despise the New Deal, they despise the Civil Rights movement, the environmental rights movement, the public education movement, and all the governmental infrastructure that arose to protect the rights of those citizens that democratically elected those reforms. I don't believe this is radical fringe. This is America, in all its brutal glory - the battle between democracy and autocracy. As Howard Zinn taught us, freedom is not guaranteed, it is hard won.

Expand full comment

Great report, Judd. We are in for a hard ride.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Judd, for your (as always) excellent reporting; we so need you shining disinfecting sunlight into the dark corners.

For anyone interested in an excellent explanation of how today's SCOTUS came to be, there is a series of speeches available on youtube called "The Scheme". These speeches are presented by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to the Senate chamber and begin with a discussion of Lewis Powell's famous memo of the early 1970's and continue through today's "captured" court. Every American should watch these speeches and learn what has happened. Senator Whitehouse has done a great service with these speeches revealing, with no punches pulled, the calculated Republican plan, patiently executed over decades, to seize the Court. And yes, Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society, as well as dark money from various sources (individuals and groups) figure prominently and are explained in depth. Please watch!


Expand full comment

We’re already in civil war, and for the most part it’s happening in court. To win a war, one side has to outmaneuver the other, and do so decisively. Today, one side is led by a few uber-wealthy combined with strategic legal minds, extreme ideologues, disruptive digital media and members of a cult. The other side is led by …?

The people who have engineered our situation have been in their long game for years while people who had faith in democracy - those who couldn’t dream of the situation we face - are for the most part in reaction mode without the benefit of years of strategizing responsive legal maneuvers to what’s already happening let alone what could happen.

Voting is part of the response we need, but in a civil war voters are outmatched by those who know the legal maneuvers to subvert the law. I’m having a hard time conceiving what it looks like, but if we don’t think of this as a war we have to win with strategy and action, then we will soon be living in a very different place.

Expand full comment

“ From now on, I shall intervene in these cases and remove from office those judges who evidently do not understand the demand of the hour. “ Adolph Hitler

Expand full comment