Leonard A. Leo

URL https://Persagen.com/docs/Leonard_A_Leo.html
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Source URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Leo
Date published 2021-08-13
Curator Dr. Victoria A. Stuart, Ph.D.
Curation date 2021-08-13
Editorial practice Refer here  |  Dates: yyyy-mm-dd
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Leonard A. Leo
Name Leonard Leo
Born 1965
Birthplace Northport, New York, USA
Nationality American
Education Cornell University (BA, JD)
Founder CRC Advisors
Title Chairman
Political party Republican Party
Known for
Notable associations
Spouse Sally Leo
Children 7


Leonard A. Leo (born 1965) is an American lawyer and conservative activist.

Leonard Leo has led campaigns to support the Supreme Court nominations of John RobertsSamuel AlitoNeil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. In 2017 (before Justice Kavanaugh's appointment and confirmation), legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wrote that Leonard Leo was "responsible, to a considerable extent, for one third of the justices on the Supreme Court." Leonard Leo described himself in 2019 as "a leader of the conservative legal movement."

Early life and education

Leonard Leo was born on Long Island, New York in 1965, and raised in suburban New Jersey to a family of practicing Catholics. Leonard Leo's grandfather, an Italian immigrant, was a Vice-President of Brooks Brothers. Leonard Leo attended Cornell University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1986, and working as an intern in the office of Senator Orrin Hatch. Leonard Leo completed a J.D. [Juris Doctor] degree at Cornell Law School in 1989, then clerked for federal judge A. Raymond Randolph of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

While studying law at Cornell, Leonard Leo founded a student chapter of the Federalist Society in 1989, and subsequently went to work for the Federalist Society in 1991 in Washington, D.C. In 2019, The Washington Post reported that the Federalist Society had paid Leo an annual wage of more than $400,000 for a number of years.


Leonard Leo served as National Co-Chairman of Catholic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, and as the 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign's Catholic Strategist. Leonard Leo was appointed by President George W. Bush and the United States Senate to three terms on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Leonard Leo has been a U.S. Delegate to the UN Council and UN Commission on Human Rights as well as the Organization of Security and Cooperation and World Health Assembly. Leonard Leo has served as an observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization and as a member of the U.S. National Commission to UNESCO.

Leonard Leo organized efforts in support of the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Leonard Leo received the 2009 Bradley Prize from the extremely conservative Bradley Foundation.

Leonard Leo has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post. Leonard Leo is a board member of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Leonard Leo met Clarence Thomas while clerking in the Appeals Court and the two became close friends. Leonard Leo delayed his start at the Federalist Society to assist Thomas in his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

In 2003, when George W. Bush intended to criticize the practice of affirmative action in a speech but praise racial diversity, Leonard Leo called White House officials to complain. Leonard Leo said that the praise for racial diversity would "disgust any conservative who thinks that this is a matter of principle." Leonard Leo told the Washington Post, he "was conveying the widely shared belief among conservatives that discriminating on the basis of race is always wrong and inconsistent with the dignity and worth of every person." Leonard Leo helped to push the Bush administration's nomination of Miguel Estrada to the judiciary.

In 2012, Leonard Leo was on the boards of the Catholic Association and its affiliate Catholic Association Foundation. These two organizations ran campaigns opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In 2016, after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Leonard Leo helped arrange funding to rename George Mason University's Law School the Antonin Scalia Law School. Leonard Leo was also identified by 2017 Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch as the person who first contacted Gorsuch about the possibility of President Donald Trump appointing Gorsuch to the seat vacated by Scalia's death.

In 2019, The Washington Post wrote of Leonard Leo, "few people outside government have more influence over judicial appointments now than Leo." Between 2014 and 2017, Leonard Leo raised more than $250 million in "dark money" donations (donations where donors do not have to disclose their identity), which was in part used to support conservative policies and judges. Leonard Leo has said of Mitch McConnell, who has broken records in seating Republican judicial nominees, that he was "the most consequential majority leader, certainly, in modern history."

In January 2020, Leonard Leo announced that he would be leaving his position as Executive Vice President at the Federalist Society to start a new group, CRC Advisors [Creative Response Concepts (CRC)].

Personal life

Leonard Leo is Roman Catholic. Leonard Leo has seven children with his wife, Sally. Their daughter Margaret died in 2007 at the age of 14 from spina bifida. Leonard Leo has spoken about the profound impact her life had on him.

In 2019, The Washington Post reported that the Federalist Society had paid Leonard Leo an annual wage of more than $400,000 for a number of years. In 2016, Leonard Leo received $120,000 for his work for the Catholic Association.


  • Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House (Simon & Schuster, 2004), co-Editor

  • Additional Reading

    Honest Elections Project

  • [๐Ÿ“Œ pinned article] [OpenSecrets.org, 2020-05-27] Honest Elections Project: Conservative "dark money" network rebranded to push voting restrictions before 2020 election.

  • [๐Ÿ“Œ pinned article] [Popular.info, 2022-09-12] The radical legal theory that could upend the 2024 election.  |  independent state legislature theory

  • [NPR.org, 2022-08-12] This conservative group helped push a disputed election theory.

  • [NewRepublic.com, 2022-07-11] How Leonard Leo Became the Grey Cardinal of the American Right.  The Federalist Society kingpin has exerted more influence on the country's rightward drift than almost anyone in conservative circles, including presidents. He's not done by a long shot.

  • [ExposedByCMD.org, 2021-10-04] ALEC Leaders Boast About Anti-Abortion, Anti-Trans Bills.

  • [ExposedByCMD.org, 2021-08-03] Group Run by Trump's "Judge Whisperer" Leonard Leo Provides More Than a Third of RAGA's Revenue So Far in 2021
  • [PRWatch.org, 2020-10-10] Snapshot of Secret Funding of Amicus Briefs Tied to Leonard Leo -- Federalist Society Leader, Promoter of Amy Barrett. A new review of grant documents, first published on the dark web, provides a snapshot of how groups tied to Leonard Leo -- the man who put Amy Coney Barrett on President Trump's list for the Supreme Court - have been secretly funded to file briefs with the Supreme Court to overturn U.S. laws, including the Affordable Care Act.

  • [OpenSecrets.org, 2019-05-23] Wellspring Committee: An influential 'dark money' group turns off the lights for the last time

  • [2018-07-06]:  The anti-abortion conservative quietly guiding Trump's supreme court pick, Leonard Leo -- who is advising Trump on his nominee -- is a mild-mannered Republican who has become one of the Washington's most influential people.

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