How Nonprofits Can Help Shape the Future of the Supreme Court

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Leslie Barnes, Tim Mooney


Now that Justice Breyer has announced he will be resigning at the end of this term, President Biden will begin the process to fill the vacancy. If you are a 501 (c)(3) public charity, you can play a role in shaping the future of the Supreme Court. Specifically, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits 501(c)(3) public charities to influence the presidential selection and senate confirmation process of a Supreme Court Justice.  

The IRS has recognized that influencing the confirmation of federal judges is like influencing any other legislative vote through lobbying.

Accordingly, advocating for or against a judicial nominee would be considered lobbying. You can lobby, as long as you stay within your lobbying limits. Other tax-exempt entities can also engage with the public, the White House, and US Senators to influence the process provided they follow the rules. 

In an election year, there are additional election rules to consider.

Alliance for Justice partners with member organizations working on judicial nominations. Our Bolder Advocacy program has compiled resources to help support nonprofits’ work in the nomination and confirmation process.  

“We are overcome with joy that President Biden will now have a historic opportunity to nominate the nation’s first Black woman to a seat on the Supreme Court.

President of Alliance for Justice, Rakim Brooks

He continued, “We are confident that this nominee will have a demonstrated commitment to equal justice and will protect the rights of all Americans, and we are well prepared for the fight ahead to ensure her speedy confirmation.” (Read the full statement here)

With changes in Senate rules in 2013 and 2017, a Supreme Court nominee can now move forward and be confirmed with a simple majority, shielding the nomination from a filibuster. With the Senate currently split 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris could potentially serve as the tiebreaker over any nominee should all 50 Democrats rally behind the president’s selection. 

Nonprofits who wish to play a role in the confirmation process may contact our technical assistance hotline by using this form or calling (866)-675-6229 with any advocacy questions. We also have the following resources available: