The Federalist Society is a legal group consisting of over 40,000 conservative lawyers, academics, and students, with chapters across the country and in almost every law school. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Federalist Society has played a “prominent role” in helping Republican presidents turn the federal judiciary into a “predominantly conservative force.” It serves as a network for members – whom it tries to keep anonymous – and disseminates conservative ideas through discussion and its public debates. Known for having members who believe the Constitution should be interpreted using “originalism,” the Federalist Society’s influence has extended to the Supreme Court: Chief Justice John Roberts is a former member, Justice Antonin Scalia is a former faculty adviser to the organization, and Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken at Federalist Society events.

Notable Facts:

  • President George W. Bush “repeatedly” appointed Federalist Society members to cabinet and senior staff positions in his administration; by 2005, 15 of the 41 appeals court judges confirmed under him were identified as members of the law group.
  • Federalist Society members have also played vital roles in some of the most important political battles of the last 20 years, including former Federalist Society chairman Kenneth W. Starr, who wrote the report that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and member Theodore B. Olson, who helped secure President George W. Bush’s first term with his successful argument in Bush v. Gore. (Olson also led the successful challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, but other lawyers associated with the Federalist Society took the opposite position; Starr defended California’s ban before the state Supreme Court in 2009.)
  • When Chief Justice John Roberts was a Supreme Court nominee, he denied being a member of the Federalist Society, but the Washington Post discovered that Roberts’ name was listed in the 1997-98 Federalist Society Lawyers’ Division Leadership Directory when he was a partner at the Hogan & Hartson law firm.

2 transactions on record as a recipient.

Ordered By: Year (Newer to Older)

#
Donor
Recipient
Amount
Year
Link
1Ed Uihlein Family FoundationFederalist Society$200,0002014+
2Ed Uihlein Family FoundationFederalist Society$150,0002013+
The transactions in Conservative Transparency are based on information reported by the donors and exclude 'dark money' raised by the recipients from unknown donors that are not in the database. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.