Meet the Conservative Power Couple Behind Trump’s War on Your Civil Rights
Carrie Severino has been reshaping the judiciary, while Roger Severino has been undermining the laws it upholds
Carrie Campbell Severino posed for a masked selfie last Monday night on the darkened White House grounds to watch her former boss, Justice Clarence Thomas, swear in 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. As the president and public face of the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), the financial muscle behind President Donald Trump’s takeover of the federal courts, Carrie had returned to the executive mansion where, weeks earlier, her years of behind-the-scenes work had paid off: three Supreme Court justices in three and a half years.
JCN is a conservative nonprofit that bankrolls the confirmation fights for scores of predominantly young, white, male, conservative judicial nominees to lifetime seats on the federal bench and in the state courts. Founded in 2004 as the Judicial Confirmation Network to support President George W. Bush’s picks, the organization helped elevate conservative nominees John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Carrie joined JCN in 2010, the same year the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling ushered in a new age of unlimited campaign spending. She’s served the organization in a variety of roles over the decade, including chief counsel, policy director, and president. On JCN’s website, she is the only staff member listed.
Under Trump, JCN effectively added Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and now Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Barrett’s nomination cost JCN, by its own admission, $10 million, and Severino promoted the then-nominee on ABC News’ This Week, CNN, CBS News, and C-SPAN, as well as to the New York Times and other high-profile mainstream news outlets. Barrett’s confirmation was “a triumph on many levels,” Severino wrote in a New York Post article.