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Press release/statement

24 Groups Write Letter Opposing Judge Thapar’s Confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

New York, New York — Today, Demos, Every Voice, People for the American Way, and 21 other organizations sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing Judge Amul Thapar’s confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The organizations called into question Judge Thapar’s troubling record on money in politics, noting that they are deeply concerned with the growing role of big money in American politics.

Judge Thapar’s confirmation would exacerbate the problem of big money in politics on the Court of Appeals level, affecting critical cases that never reach the Supreme Court.

Much of the problem of big money stems from our judicial system. For more than four decades, the Supreme Court’s flawed approach to money in politics has gutted common-sense protections against the power of special interests and wealthy individuals. In fact, nearly half of the money in the 2016 federal elections—more than $3 billion—can be directly tied to a few of the Court’s most damaging rulings.

Judge Thapar’s confirmation would exacerbate the problem on the Court of Appeals level, affecting critical cases that never reach the Supreme Court. In the one directly relevant case identified in Judge Thapar’s record, he went beyond the Supreme Court’s directives in his antagonism towards rules governing the financing of campaigns, raising alarming for groups advocating for all voices to be heard in our electoral process.

The letter, joined by major national groups such as American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, and Communications Workers of America, expresses their disapproval ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote. It comes on the heels of robust opposition to Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation based upon his money in politics record from numerous organizations and members of Congress. Ultimately at least 25 U.S. senators opposed Justice Gorsuch due in part to the issue. 

Adam Lioz, Counsel and Senior Advisor at Demos, said: “To ensure that all voices are heard, it is essential that we confirm judges and justices who understand that the Constitution gives we the people the power to protect our democracy from big money. Unfortunately, Judge Thapar’s troubling record on money in politics shows he would side with big donors over the rest of us—so we must oppose his confirmation.”

Nick Nyhart, President and CEO at Every Voice Center, said: "Americans deserve judges and a judicial system that protect the right of every American to be heard in our elections, not just the wealthy and powerful. We oppose Judge Thapar’s confirmation because we believe he would give big donors and corporations even more influence in our political system.”

Rio Tazewell, Government by the People Campaign Manager, said: “Anyone who is worried about the destructive power of money in our democracy should be extraordinarily concerned about this nomination. We don’t need more judges willing to twist the law in order to give corporations and the wealthy more ability to influence our elections—but by every indication that’s exactly the kind of judge this nominee will be. Billionaires and Wall Street would be very happy with Judge Thapar on the bench; the rest of us are unlikely to fare as well.”

Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People, said: “Court decisions created the era of big money politics that got us into this situation. Judge Thapar’s record shows that elevating him to the Court of Appeals would make that even worse.”

Tiffany Muller, President and Executive Director of End Citizens United, said: “Our democracy is built on the principle that every American has a voice in our elections.  Today, that ideal is at risk.  We need a judiciary that will put the rights of everyday people ahead of Big Money special interests, yet Judge Thapar has made it clear that he believes these special interests should be able to spend unlimited money to influence elections.  He’s out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans, and we oppose his confirmation.”

Chris Tallent, National Campaigns Director of Mayday, said: “Americans are taking action all over the country to save democracy by getting big money out, and getting voters in. We should be making sure people of all backgrounds can run for office and be heard in our elections, not giving a larger voice to big donors. Judge Thapar would take us in the wrong direction. 

Read the full letter HERE