Demand Justice


Tax-Exempt Status:





Left-Wing Judicial Nominee Advocacy Group

Project of:

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Executive Director:

Brian Fallon

Demand Justice is a left-of-center advocacy group created in early 2018 that aims to influence the political leanings of America’s courts by supporting the appointment of liberal judicial nominees and opposing right-of-center nominees. The organization acts primarily through media campaigns against nominated and unconfirmed judicial nominees.

Demand Justice is a project of Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization characterized as “dark money” by critics which hosts a number of similar advocacy groups advocating for a left-wing policy agenda. [1] Demand Justice itself has been characterized by the left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics as a “liberal dark money” group. [2] Demand Justice also shares the same building with the 501(c)(3) nonprofit New Venture Fund, a prominent left-wing incubation group and affiliate of the 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund, the fiscal sponsor of Demand Justice. [3]

Beginning in July 2018, Demand Justice has been one of a number of left-wing judicial advocacy groups organizing opposition to the confirmation of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.[4]

Media Campaigns and Protests

In May 2018, Demand Justice launched its first media campaign against Thomas Farr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. [5]

In June 2018, Demand Justice began an advertisement campaign called Ditch the List that targeted potential Supreme Court nominees to replace outgoing Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. The campaign specifically focused on Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.[6]

Between April and June 2018, Demand Justice received more than $2.5 million from the Open Society Policy Center, a 501(c)(4) lobbying group founded by George Soros, for general support. Open Society Policy Center gave Demand Justice another sum of $87,000 between October and December of that year to support their advocacy efforts on judicial nominations. [7] [8]

Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation (2018)

Demand Justice, in anticipation of the announcement of President Trump’s July 2018 nominee to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vacated seat on the Supreme Court, launched a campaign to pressure Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to vote against any nominee from Trump’s shortlist of candidate judges. Demand Justice claimed that Sen. Collins must vote against any nominee in order to preserve her stance on reproductive rights.[9]

Following the Trump administration’s nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Demand Justice organized protesters to line the halls outside the room where a number of U.S. senators met on September 4, 2018, to conduct confirmation hearings. The protesters dressed as handmaids, referencing the 1985 book “A Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, where women are denied basic freedoms. Demand Justice released a statement which read: [10]

“Right now in American, far too many women of color cannot access safe, affordable healthcare and the ability to decide whether, when and how to raise thriving families is out of reach.”

Demand Justice hosts[11]

Attacks on Justice Brett Kavanaugh

In April 2019, Demand Justice sent a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) requesting he seek out documents from the National Archives that the group claims reveal Kavanaugh’s preexisting stance on Roe v. Wade, prior to his confirmation to the Supreme Court. A 27-page memo was included in the letter from Demand Justice and other pro-abortion groups. [12]

In June 2019, Demand Justice announced its intent to demand the Senate Judiciary Committee unearth documents from the U.S. National Archives which would supposedly prove that Justice Kavanaugh gave false information to the U.S. Senate during his confirmation process in 2018.

Demand Justice has paid for digital advertisements on Facebook demanding George Mason University halt Justice Brett Kavanaugh from co-teaching a summer course in 2019. The group demanded the university issue an apology from the for allowing Kavanaugh to teach the course. [13]

Trump Judicial Confirmations

Demand Justice posted a video on its Twitter page on February 27, 2019 criticizing Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The video accused Rao of holding “far right conservative” views against feminism and that holding such views should disqualify her from holding a position in any court. [14]

In March 2019, Demand Justice released its “grades” of Senate Democrats, rating their performance in halting the appointment of Trump-appointed federal judges. [15] The report led to further advertisement campaigns against Democratic Senators with low approval ratings. [16]

In January 2019, Demand Justice and Data for Progress released a study comparing President Trump’s judicial nominees with those of prior U.S. presidents to unveil “how dangerously far to the right” the Supreme Court has supposedly become during his administration. [17]

Support for H.R. 1 (2019)

In May 2019, Demand Justice endorsed H.R. 1 (the “For the People Act”) which, among other major revisions to U.S. elections, would seek statehood for Washington, D.C. [18]

“Rise Up for Roe”

On August 1, 2018, Demand Justice announced the start of its “Rise Up for Roe” tour beginning August 11 in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Denver, Maine, Virginia, Los Angeles, Iowa, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona.

Tour speakers included Symone Sanders, Brittany Packnett, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, Jessica Valenti, Karine Jean-Pierre, actress Alyssa Milano, National Women’s Law Center president Fatima Goss-Graves, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue, National Domestic Workers Alliance political director Jess Morales-Rocketto, Planned Parenthood vice president Dawn Laguens, Jess McIntosh, Daily Kos writer Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden.[19]

The tour is funded by Demand Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.[20]

Supreme Court Decision Protest (2019)

On June 26, 2019, the last day of the year’s Supreme Court term, Demand Justice held a rally at the Supreme Court with two dozen progressive organizations in response to the Court’s major decisions on two cases, one on partisan redistricting and another on adding a citizenship question to the census. [21] [22] [23]

The organizations at the rally were:

Democracy Initiative, Alliance for Justice, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Bread for the World, United Church of Christ, Church World Service, Nuns on the Bus, National Council of Jewish Women, CASA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Road New York, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), NAACP, Color of Change, Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), National Women’s Law Center, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Partnership for Women and Families, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Human Rights Campaign.

The Atlantic Op-Ed

In August 2019, Demand Justice co-founders Brian Fallon and Chris Kang wrote an op-ed in the Atlantic that outlined their philosophy and opinions towards judicial nominations. It is an advice piece to Democrats outlining how they should approach judicial nominations in a post-Trump era. Fallon and Kang claim that Republicans have long appointed corporate firm lawyers tied to special interest groups to prominent positions in the federal judiciary. Kang and Fallon believe that such lawyers side with corporations over the people through championing various legal agendas, such as getting rid of restrictions on political contributions during elections and battling unions.

Fallon and Kang urge Democrats to vehemently oppose all Trump administration judicial nominees moving forward, and demand that the Democrats eventually institute a strict no-corporate partner policy for judicial nominees. Although this may disqualify some quality judges – they highlight President Obama nominee Justice Sonia Sotomayor – they claim it would allow for many more judges and justices similar in practice to liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [24]

2019 Supreme Court Judicial Shortlist

On October 15, 2019, Demand Justice released a list of 32 lawyers and judges they recommend as possible nominees for the Supreme Court should one of the Democratic candidates become president. Of the 32 lawyers listed, none have any corporate ties as partners at major law firms. [25] Only 8 of the 32 have any judicial experience, with the rest having, at most, experience clerking for federal or state judges. [26] Demand Justice made it clear, per their website, that they are looking to increase left-of-center judicial activism; all of these choices have been advocates for radical left-of-center agendas. [27] Among these radicals is U.S. District Judge Carlton Wayne Reeves, who once compared President Trump to segregationist George Wallace. Another is Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout, a multiple-time election loser for Attorney General of New York and a friend of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). [28] Pundits such as Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino and Mike Davis – former clerk to Justice Neil Gorsuch – have criticized the “far left” nature of the candidates and have questioned their viability and credentials. [29]

Demand Justice intended to use this list to “prod” the 2020 Democratic candidates. They have pressured candidates to announce that they will choose judges from the list, although no candidates have publicly announced their picks as of October 2019, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stated that she outright refuses to choose anyone unless she wins the election. [30]

Professor Pamela S. Karlan

One of the lawyers on the list, Professor Pamela S. Karlan from Stanford University, appeared before the House on Dec. 4 to voice her support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. [31] She made headlines after illustrating the constitution’s prohibitions against titles of hereditary nobility by making a joke about the name of President Trump’s son Barron. The comment caused many Republicans in congress and even First Lady Melania Trump to issue statements condemning the professor’s choice to joke about a child’s name. [32]

Campaign Activism

2018 Midterm Election

During the recount of the 2018 Florida U.S. Senate election, an email by Demand Justice (available here) urged supporters of Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to “help out in a variety of roles in the recount process, including observing at polls, data processing, and logistics organization.” “If you are a lawyer or have legal training and live in Florida or can travel to Florida, please sign up,” the email added.[33]

According to FEC filings, during the 2018 midterm elections Demand Justice spent nearly $317,000 in electioneering communication for three vulnerable Senate Democratic Senate incumbents and against two incumbent Republican senators. The politicians supported by the project included Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who received $110,000, $100,000, and $100,000, respectively. Demand Justice also spent nearly $101,000 against Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), who lost reelection, and over $7,000 against Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), who was elected.[34]

2020 General Election

In 2019, Demand Justice ran a digital advertisement thanking 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro for his support of a “police overhaul” measure to prevent courts from protecting police officers on civil lawsuits of “brutality or misuse of deadly force.” [35]

In March 2019, Demand Justice has aired ads attacking Republican Senators up for reelection in 2020 for their support of federal circuit court judge Chad Readler during his confirmation process. [36]

The day before the 2020 general election, Demand Justice announced its initiative to reform the Supreme Court, calling the Justices who President Trump appointed to the Supreme Court “far-right” and claiming that they were prepared to help Republicans steal the election. [37] It states that it wants to add four seats, create term limits, create a “code of ethics,” and add judges to the lower courts as a part of its plan to reform the courts. [38]


Support for Packing the Supreme Court

In March 2019, former attorney general for the Obama administration Eric Holder expressed his support for a future Democratic Party president “packing” the U.S. Supreme Court by adding additional favorable justices to it. Holder told the Yale Law National Security Group that the next Democratic president should “seriously consider adding two seats to the Supreme Court.” Holder has been the most prominent left-wing political figure to officially endorse a court packing strategy. [39]

Brian Fallon supported the idea, saying: “More and more Democrats are becoming convinced that we cannot resign ourselves to the third branch of government being captive to partisan Republican forces for the next 30 years.” [40] [41]

On June 11, 2019 Demand Justice purchased advertisements supporting an op-ed written by former Iowa attorney general Bonnie Campbell promoting the idea of court-packing the Supreme Court. The op-ed was written in response to the anti-abortion legislation that was passed in several states that was believed to be initiated after the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. [42]

Comments on Fusion GPS

In 2017, Brian Fallon defended the decision of Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, to hire Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. [43] In regard to Elias’ hiring of Fusion GPS, Fallon said, “I am damn glad [Marc Elias] pursued this on behalf of our campaign and only regret more of [Fusion’s] material was not verified in time for the voters to learn it before the election.” [44]

Attacks on Democratic Senators

In September 2019, Demand Justice resumed its attack ad campaign against Democratic senators, this time taking out “five-figure” advertisements against Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). In a news release, they claimed that Coons has voted for 18 judicial nominees that do not support the final decision of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. Sean Coit, a spokesman for Senator Coons’ office, responded that Coons “has not voted for any nominee who opposes Brown v. Board, nor would he.” He addedthat the Senator “has opposed unqualified Trump nominees […] and has supported some whom he believes are qualified for their positions.” These attacks come at a critical time for Senator Coons, as he is up for reelection in the 2020 election. [45]

Following the advertisements running in September, Democratic allies of Senator Coons fired back at Demand Justice for what they see as unfair attacks on the bipartisan-voting Senator. Most notably, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) had strong words for the judicial advocacy group. Senator Durbin chastised the attacks, arguing they were “really inaccurate” and added that he had voted for many of the same nominees. He criticized the group for stepping out of line and showed full support of Senator Coons’ judicial voting record during the Trump presidency. Senator Hirono, a friend of Demand Justice, said she “personally prefer that they didn’t” smear Senator Coons. Senator Schatz said that the group did “half the job.” He continued, saying, “[o]ne part of the job is to exert pressure on Democrats to do more, but you’ve got to do the hard work of organizing the constituency behind it. […] They scratch a political itch but it doesn’t solve the structural problem of us not having enough votes.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was less critical of Demand Justice. He explained that it made little sense for senators to oppose judicial nominations for lawyers and judges that Demand Justice had itself recommended to the President. Meanwhile, when asked about attack ads ran by the group against him, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) simply said, “I don’t think about them at all.”

Executive director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon doubled down on his strategy, asserting that the group intends to invest heavily in Delaware should Senator Coons continue his voting record for Trump nominations. “If that’s a record he’s proud of and feels like he can defend then he has nothing to worry about from our ads,” he said.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) suggested that Demand Justice was being politically short sighted in their ads against Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), saying,“[i]f you’re going to have a strategy to muscle you better understand the people enough to know that it’ll work.” He offered that most Senators do not respond to outside pressure when making a decision on how to cast their votes. [46]

Politico‘s Report on Sixteen Thirty Fund

In November 2019, Politico released a report on the Sixteen Thirty Fund and their $114 million efforts in helping Democratic candidates win elections in 2018 and in attacking Justice Brett Kavanaugh by funding Demand Justice. Politico highlighted how the spending was “fueled by massive anonymous donations” and explained that the donors can remain anonymous due to federal laws protecting “social welfare” groups. The report also mentioned Sixteen Thirty’s connections to Arabella Advisors and noted that Arabella was “founded by former Clinton administration appointee Eric Kessler.” [47]

A few days later, the Washington Post published an editorial about Politico’s report, decrying the ability of dark money groups to “push causes and issues before voters” without disclosing “what special interests might lurk behind” their ads and campaigns. After detailing what Politico learned about Sixteen Thirty’s spending and activities, the Post called on Congress to “change the law and force social welfare groups to identify their donors in full.” [48]

Smear of D.C. Circuit Court Judge David Griffith

In March 2020, Demand Justice had allegedly filed an ethics complaint against D.C. Circuit Court Judge David Griffith for his decision to retire from his position on September 1, 2020. According to a letter sent to the D.C. Circuit Court, Judge Griffith had apparently taken a bribe from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to step down in exchange for a “promise of future employment, such as a prestigious professorship, or future income or any bonuses that could have come with an agreement for future employment.” [49] Since the group claimed that this decision to step down was “particularly suspicious,” it attempted to use this argument to obstruct the confirmation of Griffith’s successor, Judge Justin Walker. [50]

On May 1, D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan released an order stating that Demand Justice had not met the requirements to file a proper complaint against Justice Griffith as they did not verify their charges against him, nor did they attempt to clarify said charges within the 6-week period between its filing and chief judge Srinivasan’s decision. [51] In addition, on May 5, National Public Radio (NPR) released a report on Griffith including quotes from him explaining that he made his decision for entirely personal reasons back in June 2019, and had informed his colleagues he would be retiring to care for his wife due to her “debilitating chronic illness.” [52] [53]

However, D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Srinivasan’s order had also requested U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to transfer the unverified complaint to another circuit for review. He called on rule 26 of the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings which state that transfers may be used “where the issues are highly visible and a local disposition may weaken public confidence in the process.” [54] In addition, his order asserted rule 5 of the Proceedings by “identifying” the complaint himself due to Demand Justice’s lack of verification. Rule 5 states “when a chief judge has information constituting reasonable grounds for inquiry into whether a covered judge has engaged in misconduct or has a disability, the chief judge may conduct an inquiry, as he or she deems appropriate, into the accuracy of the information even if no related complaint has been filed.” [55] However, Chief Judge Srinivasan’s order noted that his “identification” had been made “without any inquiry by this court into the statements contained in the unverified correspondence or the questions posited by the organization in the correspondence about the possibility of judicial misconduct.” [56] On May 8, U.S. Chief Justice Roberts denied the transfer request, affirming that Chief Justice Srinivasan’s “identification” did not fit the prerequisites under Rule 5 as it did not reflect “a determination of probable cause or provide sufficient indicia to infer such a finding.” [57]


In May 2018, a New York Times article noted that Demand Justice “expects to raise $10 million in its first year.” The article further noted that Brian Fallon, the director of Demand Justice, “said he was more than halfway to this initial fundraising goal. While Demand Justice has not released a list of donors, Fallon spoke at the 2018 Democracy Alliance—a network of left-wing donors such as George Soros –conference in Atlanta.[58]

Demand Justice collects donations through its website and operates through ActBlue Civics, a pass-through 501(c)(4) organization that serves as a fundraising platform for other left-wing 501(c)(4) organizations.



Also see Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon currently works as executive director of Demand Justice. Previously, he served as the president of Barracks Row Media, a Washington, D.C. public relations firm. He previously worked as a political commentator for CNN, and served as a senior adviser for the political action committee Priorities USA, which provided critical funding to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Beginning in April 2015, Fallon also served as the Hillary Clinton campaign’s press secretary. Prior to joining Clinton’s campaign, Fallon was a spokesperson for former attorney general Eric Holder in the Department of Justice under President Obama, as well as communications director for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) from 2007-2010.[59] [60]

In August 2018, Fallon lambasted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) after the Senator agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “fast-track” the confirmations of 15 Trump-nominated judges.[61] Schumer justified the cooperation as a way to allow more time for vulnerable Democratic Senators in the 2018 midterm elections to campaign in their home states; particularly when the specific judges were deemed likely to succeed anyway with bipartisan support.[62]

Brian Fallon criticized Sen. Schumer’s strategy, writing that, “It is hard to think of a more pathetic surrender heading to the Kavanaugh hearings.”[63] Furthermore, Demand Justice chief counsel Christopher Kang proposed that it would have been better if Sen. Schumer continued to delay the judicial nominee approval process. Instead, Kang suggested vulnerable Democratic incumbents skip votes to campaign instead.[64]

In April 2018, Brian Fallon attended a secret meeting with Democracy Alliance in Atlanta, Georgia to represent Demand Justice, which had not yet been officially launched. [65] [66]

Christopher Kang serves as chief counsel for Demand Justice. Previously, Kang served as national director for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). Kang spent six years working for the Obama administration in various capacities. During this time, Kang “was in charge of the selection, vetting, and confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees.” Kang also worked for Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) for seven years in various roles, including Director of Floor Operations and Judiciary Committee Counsel.[67]

Paige Herwig serves as the deputy chief counsel of Demand Justice. Her career includes working at the White House during the Obama Administration, serving in Congress as a staffer for Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), and working in the Justice Department.[68]

Katie O’Connor serves as counsel for Demand Justice. She previously worked at the American Constitution Society, a left-of-center legal organization that interprets the Constitution as a “living document.” She also spent ten years working at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).[69]

Digital and Media Staff

Gabrielle McCaffrey is the head of Demand Justice’s digital team and runs its media campaigns. Previously, she worked on the Hillary for America 2016 presidential campaign as the digital director for Clinton’s primary efforts in South Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania. She also served as the Pennsylvania state digital director for Clinton’s general election campaign. McCaffrey also worked for the Democratic attorney general of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, as his director of digital engagement, as well as in the communications department of various left-of-center organizations including the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Revolution Messaging, and Run the World Digital.[70]

Diana Bowen serves as the director of video at Demand Justice. She previously worked as filmmaker and producer on various political campaign, including Hillary for America, Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 New York gubernatorial reelection campaign, and Sen. Ed Markey’s campaign for senator in the 2013 Massachusetts special election.[71]

Taylor Casey serves as the digital strategist and designer for Demand Justice. She worked at Run the World Digital as well as on the Hillary for America campaign in South Carolina.[72]

Shannon Wurthman serves as the digital and social media strategist at Demand Justice. Prior to joining Demand Justice, Wurthman worked for Free Speech for People and Run the World Digital, two left-of-center nonprofits. Wurthman also worked as the deputy digital director of the Greater Philadelphia area for the Hillary for America campaign as well as a volunteer for the Obama for America campaign.[73]

According to FEC filings, Andrew Schulz serves as the official custodian of records for Demand Justice. Schulz is an employee of Demand Justice’s fiscal sponsor, Sixteen Thirty Fund, as well as Arabella Advisors, a center-left political consultancy that manages Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund.[74] Schulz works as a general council focused on nonprofit legal compliance.[75]


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Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Brian Fallon
    Executive Director
  2. Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  3. Jess McIntosh
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  4. Dawn Laguens
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  5. Jess Morales-Rocketto
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  6. Fatima Goss-Graves
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  7. Alyssa Milano
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  8. Karine Jean-Pierre
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  9. Jessica Valenti
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  10. Alyssa Mastromonaco
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  11. Brittany Packnett
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
  12. Symone Sanders
    Rise Up for Roe Speaker (2018)
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