OPINION: Gordon MacDonald should not be confirmed as New Hampshire’s next Supreme Court Chief Justice

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

Gordon MacDonald should not be confirmed as New Hampshire’s next Supreme Court Chief Justice. Aside from MacDonald’s lack of experience, his connections to the Koch network signifies that his allegiance is to private interests, not the people.

MacDonald served as a Board member and officer for the Josiah Bartlett Center for the last 7 years. The Center is a part of the State Policy Network, a web of state-based conservative think tanks that produce free-market policy proposals. These proposals are then fed to the American Legislative Exchange Council, which develops model legislation with advisement from corporate interests — ALEC’s policies have historically sought to undermine environmental regulations, promote school privatization, undercut healthcare reform, bust unions, disenfranchise voters, and implement harsher criminal penalties that have led to an increase in incarceration rates throughout our country.

MacDonald’s Josiah Bartlett Center, as well as the State Policy Network and the American Legislative Exchange Council, have all received funding from the notorious Koch brothers. The Kochs have become well known for coordinating a network of our nation’s wealthiest right-wing fundamentalists to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to influence elections and enact self-interest policy at the state and national levels.

Gordon MacDonald. File photo/InDepthNh.org

MacDonald was also a founding member of New Hampshire’s chapter of The Federalist Society. The Federalist Society is another Koch-funded national organization dedicated to advocating for limited government and promoting conservative and libertarian thought within the legal profession.

In May 2019, the Washington Post reported that the Federalist Society’s Executive Vice President, Leonard Leo, is playing an ongoing role in advising President Donald Trump on judicial nominees. Leo is also behind a concerted effort to raise millions of dark-money dollars for mass advertising and media campaigns to garner support for the confirmation of those nominees.

In 2018, Leo attended a private summit organized by Charles and David Koch where he assured top Koch network officials that the then-recent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was just the start of a larger effort to reshape the courts with conservative judges.

The Josiah Bartlett Center and The Federalist Society are a part of an intricate infrastructure of think-tanks and front groups funded by the Koch network to push its pro-corporate policy agenda in our states’ legislatures and courts. This agenda oftentimes results in the subsequent stripping of the public’s voting rights, LGBT rights, reproductive freedoms, access to healthcare, and regulations that protect our environment.

MacDonald’s long tenure as a board member and officer with the Josiah Bartlett Center raises real concerns about his ideological bent and comfort with allowing corporate special interests to have such direct influence over public policy in our state at the expense of everyday Granite Staters. New Hampshire deserves fair and impartial judges who we can trust to remain objective and truly represent the people. MacDonald should not be confirmed as a member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, let alone its next Chief Justice.

Matthew Murray
Board Member, Granite State Progress

For more information, read Granite State Progress report “Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers” which covers the time period MacDonald served on the Board.

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Thoughtful opinion pieces are welcome, no matter what your POV. Send submissions to carolrobidoux@manchesterinklink.com, subject line, The Soapbox.