Jeffrey Clark, the highest-ranking DOJ official who tried to install Donald Trump as dictator, has been rewarded with a nice sinecure with a prominent libertarian litigation group:
Despite the extreme and dangerous nature of these antics, Clark has not been exiled from the conservative legal movement. Clark’s new employer, the NCLA, was founded in 2017 by Philip Hamburger, a legal scholar who believes that much of the administrative state—the hundreds of agencies that enforce federal regulations—is unlawful. It is largely funded by the Charles G. Koch Foundation. routinely sues the government. In recent months, the NCLA has fought to overturn the federal ban on bump stocks, shield the Federalist from an unfair labor practice after its publisher threatened any employee who tried to unionize, and topple the federal government’s COVID eviction moratorium. On Tuesday, the organization filed suit on behalf an Antonin Scalia Law School professor who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID, arguing that the school’s vaccine mandate is illegal.
The NCLA is not a fringe firm. Its Board of Advisors includes retired conservative judge Janice Rogers Brown, prominent libertarian law professors Randy Barnett and Eugene Volokh, Supreme Court litigators Mike Carvin and Chuck Cooper, former Trump lawyer William Consovoy, and Clark’s former DOJ colleague Jennifer Mascott, who served as Associate Deputy Attorney General under Trump. The NCLA did not return my repeated requests for comment for this article.
Like other right-wing legal groups—including Clark’s own Federalist Society—the NLCA appears to have decided that abetting a failed coup does not render an attorney unfit for employment. The conservative legal movement has welcomed Trump’s schemers back into the fold with open arms. They will, it seems, experience no ramifications for their plots to steal the race. Exploiting the legal system to nullify millions of legal votes is not a deal-breaker for these attorneys; it might even be a job qualification. After all, the many Republican attorneys general who tried to overturn the 2020 election—most of them affiliated with the Federalist Society—faced no consequences for their actions; most of them are already back at the Supreme Court asking the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The insurrectionists, the coup abettors, the lawless partisans demanding mass disenfranchisement: With very few exceptions, they have returned to their plum pre-election posts, or secured even more influential or lucrative new sinecures. Trump is gone, but his most corrupt allies are only amassing more power in his absence.
It’s not violent protestors but fancy white shoe lawyers who are the greatest threat to bring Orbanism to America.
The mention of Phillip Hamburger reminds me that Adrian Vermeule was one of the best critics of the nutty libertarian critique of the modern administrative state before his Falangist turn: