Former Dark Money Group Employee Leading Biden’s Supreme Court Process
Paige Herwig, Senior Counsel to President Joe Biden and former dark money group Demand Justice employee, is leading Biden’s Supreme Court nominee selection process.
Demand Justice is a dark money group with founding ties to the 1630 Fund, a member of the left-wing dark money network that Arabella Advisors runs. The 1630 Fund spent nearly $60 million to support Biden’s 2020 candidacy. Notably, the Arabella network spent more than $1.2 billion during the 2020 campaign cycle on behalf of Biden.
Demand Justice’s donors and the 1630 Fund’s donors are unknown to the public, making them a dark money group. Executive director of Americans for Public Trust Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News, “Because Demand Justice is [the] trade name of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, we can’t see on their tax returns how much of the overall budget is being spent on Demand Justice.”
Notable Demand Justice alumni in Biden’s White House include Herwig, one of the group’s first hires who served as deputy chief counsel, along with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who worked as a communications consultant for the group.
After Biden selected Herwig to serve as Senior Counsel, Demand Justice claimed, “No one is better positioned to carry forward President-elect Biden’s commitment to rebalancing our judicial system.”
Demand Justice Chief Counsel Christopher Kang praised Biden’s “phenomenal start when it comes to judicial nominations.”
Herwig focuses on Biden’s judicial nominations as Senior Counsel in the White House counsel’s office. Herwig has admittedly been working on Biden’s judicial appointments “out of the gate,” after learning her lesson while serving under former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Herwig told Courthouse News, “A lot of people learned the lesson that if you don’t think about judges out of the gate, there’s so much else going on at the beginning of an administration, it can be very easy to have things slip through the cracks.”
Herwig is responsible for managing the flow of information to Biden on judicial nominations, according to TIME..
Herwig’s former employer, Demand Justice, played a key role in directing Biden’s attention to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson was placed on Demand Justice’s Supreme Court shortlist of judges who illustrate “the breadth of progressive talent available to a president committed to nominating a diverse group of justices.”
Demand Justice was also influential in securing Jackson’s appointment to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is thought to be a stepping stone for potential Supreme Court nominees. Demand Justice launched a six-figure ad campaign “targeting to black audiences” in support of her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
After the U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson to the D.C. Circuit, Demand Justice led the campaign that “shamed” Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer into retirement. After Breyer warned Democrats against packing the Supreme Court, Demand Justice called on Breyer to retire.
“We can’t afford to risk Democrats losing control of the Senate before President Biden can follow through on his promise to nominate the first Black woman Supreme Court justice,” tweeted Demand Justice. “It’s time for Justice Breyer to announce his retirement.”
When Justice Breyer finally announced his retirement in January, Demand Justice was so confident Jackson would be Biden’s pick that the dark money group produced ads to support Jackson even before Biden announced her nomination. “Demand Justice has already produced ads to support Jackson in case she’s chosen, a source familiar with the matter said,” NBC reported.
Demand Justice sent a letter to Biden on behalf of 12 groups urging him to nominate someone with a public defender background, as Jackson has.
Since Biden officially announced Jackson’s nomination, Demand Justice announced an initial ad campaign worth $1 million. However, it will not stop with the first million. Demand Justice is prepared to spend unlimited amounts of money to support Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, told CNBC his group is willing to “spend whatever is needed to ensure” Jackson’s confirmation.
To no surprise, Herwig has played a “prominent” role during Jackson’s confirmation process. The Wall Street Journal reported that Herwig and White House counsel Dana Remus have held mock sessions with Jackson to prepare for her confirmation hearings.