How Charles Koch bought the Supreme Court

Billionaires like Koch have funded the conservative legal movement for decades.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade ended the constitutional right to abortion while planting the seeds for overturning landmark decisions legalizing birth control, interracial marriage, and consensual sex between LGBTQ+ people.

But while these cultural issues generate the vast majority of the political heat and media attention around the Supreme Court, the money behind the right wing’s takeover of the judiciary came from corporate interests that couldn’t care less about Roe v. Wade.

Billionaires like Charles Koch have funded the conservative legal movement for decades not to ban abortion but to cripple the federal regulatory state that protects consumers, workers, and the environment. And Koch’s investment is paying off big time.

That’s why, in order to understand the right-wing hijacking of the court, we must follow the money... to the corporations and billionaires that nurtured Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and dozens of lower court judges.

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To ensure further growth of their riches, billionaires like Charles Koch have funneled vast sums of money into an extraordinary network of political front groups, lobbying efforts, think tanks, and activist networks to undermine environmental regulation.

On the final day of the Supreme Court’s term, they handed Koch one of his biggest payoffs: a decision impeding the EPA’s ability to tackle global warming, in the case West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.

But when it comes to handing gifts to corporate America, the Supreme Court is just getting started.

The court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA embraced a conservative legal theory called the “major questions doctrine” that undermines the constitutional legitimacy of a breathtaking range of regulatory actions from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and more.

They’ve effectively laid the groundwork for dismantling the entire federal regulatory state — while massively expanding the state’s power to interfere in personal issues like abortion and sex.

This is what the billionaires who funded the right-wing takeover of the court were after, and it’s critical that journalists follow the money and connect the dots.

The Intercept’s investigative journalists are doing just that, and donations from our readers are a critical source of funding. Will you donate today to help support this critical work?


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