chapter  8
25 Pages

Interest Groups Going to Court

ByThomas T. Holyoke

Courts can eliminate laws passed by Congress and administrative rules issued by executive branch agencies, so many interest groups believe it is to their advantage to pursue their members' interests in court, especially public interest groups set up as law firms. Interest groups excluded from the deliberations of congressional committees because they do not serve a recognized constituency or give contributions in elections can still try to use logic to convince judges of the merits of their policy positions. Interest groups often involve themselves in high-profile Supreme Court nominations—145 lobbied on Bork and 81 on Clarence Thomas—as well as appointments to lower levels of the federal judiciary. President Ronald Reagan was reshaping the entire federal court system with conservative appointees, and his solicitor general's office in the Justice Department was in a much better position to lead the conservative litigation charge than any interest group.