Madam President, in my opening speech about the right-wing scheme to capture the Court, the Supreme Court, I described the secret strategy memo that Lewis Powell wrote on the eve of his appointment to the Court about how to deploy corporate political power.

As a Justice of the Supreme Court, Powell had the chance to prove to the corporate world his secret memo’s theory of what could be achieved by “exploiting judicial action’’ — his phrase — particularly with, as he called it, “an activist-minded Supreme Court.’’

Second, Powell had the chance on the Court to start laying the legal…


Madam President, there is a scheme afoot, a scheme I will be talking about in weeks ahead — a long-running, right-wing scheme to capture the Supreme Court.

Special interests are behind the scheme. They control it through dark money — hundreds of millions of dollars in anonymous hidden spending. We will dwell in later speeches on how the scheme operates. This first speech seeks its origins. The scheme is secret, and because of its secrecy, it is hard to know exactly where the story should begin.


This series of “Scheme” speeches is designed to chronicle a long-running covert scheme to capture the Supreme Court, just as regulatory agencies have often and notoriously been captured by regulated interests. The whole doctrine of regulatory capture in economics and administrative law revolves around this history of agency capture.

So why not capture a Court?

The trajectory of my “Scheme” speeches has been through time, beginning with the Lewis Powell strategy report to the Chamber of Commerce, and then his enabling of that strategy as a Justice of the Court, and then how the right-wing fringe was brought into organized…


Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

I am working hard every day to help families recover from the pandemic and to build our economy back in a way that works for everyone. Our American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law earlier this year, is already making a big difference.

More than 560,000 Rhode Islanders have received a total of over $1.25 billion in direct payments so far because of the new law. That’s a lot of support to help families cover essentials and a huge boost for local businesses. …


The ocean is central to Rhode Island’s economy and culture. We understand how important it is to our prosperity and way of life, and we’ve taken big steps to preserve it for future generations. As National Ocean Month comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of my proudest moments defending our oceans.

The original Save Our Seas Act passed in 2018, serving as a bipartisan response to the growing danger posed by marine debris. …


It’s time to clean up the swamp.

I just released a new video showing how special interest donors spend huge amounts of anonymous “dark” money to rig our government in their favor. That dark-money spending has drowned our democracy in a “tsunami of slime,” and taken power out of the hands of regular people. It’s a massive problem. Watch the video to see why.

It all started with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. After that ruling, a deluge of untraceable dark money helped corporations and far-right donors push political objectives that are too unpopular to survive on their own merits. Donors bankroll television ads…


Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

OK, I’m now officially very anxious about climate legislation. I’ll admit I’m sensitive from the Obama climate abandonment, but I sense trouble.

1. Climate has fallen out of the infrastructure discussion, as it took its bipartisanship detour. It may not return. So then what?

2. I don’t see the preparatory work for a close Senate climate vote taking place in the administration. Why not marshal business support?

3. Corporate America is still completely AWOL if not worse on climate in Congress. All the major corporate trade associations suck — all of them.

4. Groups and advocates are quarreling — My…


CREW opposition in Barr memo case is pretty devastating: ”the so-called prosecutorial decision is an invention of DOJ’s … to cover up and paper over the fact that the Attorney General was engaged in an effort to mislead the public about Special Counsel Mueller’s report.” See end of this page for the full memo.

Re DOJ’s claim that Barr memo should be kept secret as “predecisional”: “DOJ lawyers were engaged in what amounts to a thought experiment about a hypothetical case, with no chance of prosecutorial action.” …


Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash

As one of top 10 most bipartisan Democrats, let me say how often bipartisanship can be a suckers’ game.

Real bipartisanship is doing big stuff Americans of both parties like. Mitch bipartisanship is the La Brea Tar Pit for those big ideas.

Those controlling the Republican Party area mix of nutty conspiracy theory and creepy billionaire mischief — the economic welfare of Americans is not either’s priority.

And creepy billionaires are usually fossil fuel polluters, so good luck on climate. (Climate was bipartisan before Citizens United caused Lost Decade.)

Rest of corporate America needs to offset fossil fuel pressure on Republicans but so far corporate political effort on climate nil.


Here’s a great graphic by Brown University scientist Bob Brulle showing the $8.2 BILLION in anonymous money going into climate denial and obstruction. Gee, I wonder who that could be.

My Captured Court riff in the Amy Coney Barrett hearing revealed hidden money going in to Supreme Court briefs from Bradley Foundation and Donors Trust. Gee, look who shows up here in the graphic. (And Big Oil just won its Supreme Court case.)

And not to be too on the nose, but there’s the Exxon foundation. Well, well, well.

Creepy Heritage Action is there, too, which Mother Jones just outed claiming credit for Republican voter suppression bills popping up like mushrooms in state legislators. (I suggested ALEC helped — and look who’s here too!)

This is what that $8.2B…

Sheldon Whitehouse

U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, the Ocean State.

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