It would be my guess that not many people in New Hampshire have heard or know much about the Brennan Center organization whose representatives recently appeared in Concord to lobby our legislators into adopting a bill creating a so-called unelected “independent” redistricting commission for our state. Fortunately, Governor Sununu has vetoed that bill, leaving the job of redistricting in the hands of the legislature, which has been given that responsibility for many, many decades under our state Constitution.
Like many so-called advocacy groups, it always pays to peel back the onion to see what’s inside.
Clothing itself in apparent respectability by virtue of its name, its affiliation with New York University, and its claims of non-partisanship, it is, however, truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Brennan Center, which has lobbied for “independent” redistricting commissions in many states, with only a small number having adopted them, is formally called the “Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.” It is named after the late US Supreme Court Justice, William J. Brennan, Jr. So, first, a few words about Mr. Justice Brennan.
Justice Brennan, born in New Jersey, was the 7th longest serving justice in Supreme Court history, having served actively on the Court from 1956 to 1990. He was well known for being a leader of the Court’s “liberal” or left wing, and for his outspoken views including opposition to the death penalty under any and all circumstances and his support for abortion “rights” (although he was a Catholic). He authored the Court’s opinion in the case that limited the rights of public officials to sue for libel to cases only in which actual malice could be proven. He was closely allied on the Court philosophically with Chief Justice Earl Warren, and later, in the Burger and Rehnquist Courts, he was often joined in his views only by Mr. Justice Thurgood Marshall. He vociferously opposed interpretation of the Constitution under the original intent doctrine.
Thus, it is only fitting and proper that the Brennan Center takes its name from him.
From the Brennan Center’s 2018 Annual Report, which is available online, it can be seen that its very well-funded advocacy (more later on the sources of its funding) focuses on the following areas & enunciated goals, among others:
- Redistricting “reform”- their euphemism for unelected “independent” redistricting commissions
- Resistance to the Voter Fraud Commission
- Stopping and/or reducing purges of voter registration lists
- Eliminating the citizenship question on the 2020 census form
- Restoration of voting rights to convicted felons
- “Automatic” Voter Registration
- Require candidates for President & VP to release their personal & business tax returns
- Small donor public political campaign financing
- Diluting and/or eliminating the effect of the Citizens United decision
- Reduce or eliminate stringent vetting of foreign visitors and/or immigrants
And now let’s look at the finances of the Brennan Center.
For 2018, it reported revenues of $23.9 Million, of which a little over $13 Million (55%) came from what it describes as “institutional and family foundations.”
The 4 largest contributors last year, with each giving over $1 Million, were-
- George Soros’s Open Society Foundations
- The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust (from the family of disgraced former Democrat NY Governor Eliot “Mr. Black Socks” Spitzer)
- The Ford Foundation (Henry Ford likely turning in his grave!)
- The Lakeshore Foundation (supposedly focusing on helping the disabled)
The annual report contains page after page of contributors during 2018, grouped by their levels of giving, and it is a virtual Who’s Who of supporters of left wing causes.
Who was it that said that people are often judged by the company they keep?
And we all know that birds of a feather stick together.
The bottom line on the Brennan Center is that if there is an issue or position for which the Brennan Center advocates, the issue or position is probably coming from the hard left of the political spectrum and should be viewed with much skepticism by anyone who values liberty.