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Inside the million-dollar campaign to smear the Supreme Court ahead of 2024 election

A left-leaning group announced this week the start of a million-dollar campaign to attack the legitimacy of the Supreme Court as the 2024 presidential race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump heats up. Stand Up America, a group funded primarily by Democratic political action committees, began its campaign on June 24, the […]

A left-leaning group announced this week the start of a million-dollar campaign to attack the legitimacy of the Supreme Court as the 2024 presidential race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump heats up.

Stand Up America, a group funded primarily by Democratic political action committees, began its campaign on June 24, the same day of the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and give states broad authority to set gestational limits on abortion procedures. The campaign also comes just days before the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle, which is sandwiched between the three remaining days where the high court is poised to release its most consequential opinions of the 2023-24 term.

Protesters target Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2023. (Alejandro Alvarez / Sipa USA / Newscom)

Stand Up America is enlisting the help of celebrities, including TV host Andy Cohen, actress Barbara Streisand, and other influencers, in addition to creating a website that will be “providing essential information about the Court, a pledge to be a Supreme Court voter, voter registration verification, and volunteer opportunities,” according to a press release.


“If Trump wins, he could ensure MAGA control of the court for decades to come, which would have a huge impact on upcoming cases impacting abortion access, gun safety, voting rights, and our other fundamental freedoms. We can’t let that happen,” said Christina Harvey, executive director of the advocacy group.

Although the million-dollar campaign to target the Supreme Court appears to be Stand Up America’s first major foray into activism against the court, the group has been a consistent combatant against Trump and his policies since its founding in 2016 by Sean Eldridge, a failed Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives and the spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

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In September 2020, the group announced that its side project, Protect the Results, added more than 80 organizations to its coalition, which sought to galvanize protests against Trump’s claims that widespread voter fraud led to his loss of the 2020 presidential election. That same year, top donors to Stand Up America included an array of major Democratic political action committees, including $35,500 given by the Democratic National Committee, $35,500 donated by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $25,239 from ActBlue, according to OpenSecrets.

The campaign also comes at a time when several Republican-appointed members of the high court, including Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, have been accused by Democratic lawmakers of abrogating ethical responsibilities despite a lack of evidence that either of the justices’ decisions were influenced by outside parties.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have repeatedly called on Congress to pass legislation that would enforce a “binding” code of conduct with enforcement mechanisms to force justices to recuse over appearances of conflicts in light of reports by the nonprofit outlet ProPublica dating back to April 2023. Although the justices already consult lower court guidance over ethical standards, the high court adopted its own ethics code last year, which bolstered guidance to report gifts the justices receive from friends and third parties.

Earlier this month, left-wing activist Lauren Windsor attended the Supreme Court Historical Society dinner and secretly recorded her conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts, Alito, and Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann Alito. 

Posing as a conservative Christian, Windsor acted sympathetic toward Martha-Ann Alito regarding her family’s media exposure over the flying of an “Appeal to Heaven” flag and an upside-down American flag outside of the couple’s two places of residence. The upside-down American flag was perceived by some critics on the Left as a statement of support for Jan. 6 rioters who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

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Windsor, who shared the audio recordings on X, where she states that she is a “journalist,” also shared a link on social media for people to donate through ActBlue, a major Democratic funding arm.

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Carrie Severino, president of the conservative judicial activist group JCN and a former clerk to Thomas, said the latest actions depict an attempt to “peddle these lies about the justices in an effort to use that as this campaign wedge issue.”

“We have to be prepared for a lot of misinformation about what the court is actually doing,” Severino said, noting activists have “resorted to really dishonest ways of attempting to make the court an issue, whether it’s this ethics stuff, ‘flag gate,’ all of those crazy, jerry-rigged kinds of attempts to pretend the justices are somehow corrupt, which is ludicrous.”

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