By Kevin Daley
Americans for Prosperity, a libertarian political advocacy group aligned with the billionaire Koch brothers, will expand its engagement on judicial confirmations in the coming months.
The group will increase expenditures on communications and organizing relating to the judiciary, and has hired a new vice president to spearhead the Koch network’s campaign during the next Supreme Court confirmation.
“Securing Justice Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court bench was a major victory for freedom, but the fight to realign our courts around the rule of law is far from over,” AFP’s new vice president of judicial strategy Sarah Field said. “With over 170 vacancies on lower courts across our country, America is facing an urgent judicial crisis.”
“When the next vacancy opens on the Supreme Court, we will be ready,” she added.
A source familiar with AFP’s plans told McClatchy that the group made a six-figure investment in judicial engagement in 2017, and plans to increase spending in the near future.
Other Koch-aligned groups have spent aggressively in the judicial confirmation space. Concerned Veterans for America ran digital ads and sent direct mail pieces targeting Democratic senators representing red states during Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation in 2017.
It’s not clear when another vacancy may emerge on the high court, though rumors that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire at the end of the Court’s current term have circulated persistently in Washington.
Judicial nominations are one of the few ecumenical causes uniting a sometimes fractious Republican party, currently divided over immigration reform, infrastructure spending, and health care.