“The far right has long played a game of bureaucratic whack-a-mole as part of its efforts to roll back civil rights gains. This includes flooding legislative offices with calls from constituents on mailing lists, flooding the lower courts with experimental lawsuits filed by former Blackstone fellows, and refusing to give up when laws are repealed as unconstitutional. Their determination to weasel through loopholes resembles the pedantic genius of a 7-year-old who doesn’t want to go to bed yet—what if I play the rules this way? How about that way? The endurance is formidable.

Alliance Defending Freedom is the incubation center for this type of legal approach to dismantling protections around LGBTQ and reproductive rights. Founded in 1994, ADF funnels young Christian law students through their Blackstone Legal Fellowship and teaches its particular strategy for dismantling LGBTQ protections and pro-choice laws, a strategy that’s been used to great success in cases like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado. ADF connections show up in every branch of the federal government, thanks to years of slow work to gain footholds over the last 30 years. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri both have close ties to ADF through Blackstone.”

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