Three of the largest leftist special-interest groups preparing to wage war against a Bush Supreme Court nominee—the Alliance for Justice, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and People For the American Way—lead an umbrella organization known as the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary.
Alliance for Justice
Leader: Nan Aron has been president since founding the organization in 1979.
History: Founded on the premise of strengthening nonprofit advocacy and “equal access” to justice. Formed the Judicial Selection Project in 1985 to monitor federal court nominations and promote the appointment of liberal judges.
Organization: Teams with 60 liberal organizations that advocate for civil rights, abortion, consumers and the environment. Has an annual budget of $5 million.
Importance: Best source for the left’s dossiers on nominees. Won’t reveal its budget for Supreme Court fight. Working with political consulting and advocacy advertising firm GMMB, which is run by Democratic advisers Frank Greer and Jim Margolis.
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Leader: Executive Director Wade Henderson joined the coalition in 1995. Previously served as the NAACP’s Washington bureau director and associate director of the ACLU’s Washington national office.
History: Founded in 1950 to fight for “equal opportunity and social justice.” Lobbied for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, key organizer of Martin Luther King’s 1963 “March on Washington.”
Organization: Made up of more than 180 member organizations, including well-known left-wing activist groups, labor unions and single-issue factions.
Importance: Henderson hosts weekly Friday strategy meetings at his Washington headquarters. Amassed a war chest of $3.7 million to fight the “nuclear option” earlier this year. Won’t disclose financial targets for Supreme Court battle.
People For the American Way
Leader: Ralph Neas, its president since 2000, formerly led the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Also worked for liberal GOP Senators Edward Brooke (Mass.) and Dave Durenberger (Minn.).
History: Founded in 1981 by leftist TV and movie producer Norman Lear to counter the “religious right.”
Organization: Boasts a membership of more than 750,000 and an annual budget of $18.5 million.
Importance: Office features a 2,500-square-foot war room with 40 computer stations and 75 phones. Tapped former Clinton Administration aides Joe Lockhart and Carter Eskew as consultants. Claims to have spent $5 million to oppose the “nuclear option.”