For nearly three decades, Leo has helped and led campaigns in support of the Supreme Court nominations of all the conservative judges now on the high court — John G. Roberts Jr., Samuel A. Alito, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
He also has had the ears of the most recent Republican presidents. When President George W. Bush planned to praise racial diversity in his 2003 criticism of affirmative action, Leo called to complain that supporting diversity in a speech would “disgust any conservative who thinks that this is a matter of principle,” The Post reported in 2019. Leo later told The Post that “it appears I was conveying the widely shared belief among conservatives that discriminating on the basis of race is always wrong and inconsistent with the dignity and worth of every person.”
At a 2017 speech, Kris Mauren of the right-leaning think tank Acton Institute, introduced Leo as having “a significant leadership role in the selection and successful confirmation of a third of the currently sitting justices on the Supreme Court” after Gorsuch was confirmed earlier in the year, according to the Examiner. The introduction made Leo grin, but he insisted there was more work to do.
“I’ve seen that comment about the third of the Supreme Court — I prefer controlling interests,” Leo said to the crowd, which laughed in approval. “But we haven’t quite been able to launch a hostile takeover yet.”
In 2018, Thomas jokingly said Leo had helped reshape the nation’s court, becoming “the Number Three most powerful person in the world.” [Continue reading…]