The Scheme

How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court

“A damning investigation of dark money by a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee” (Kirkus Reviews) with a new preface on recent disclosures about efforts to influence the Court

“There’s no senator I can think of who’s done more sleuthing to figure out the money trail in American politics, particularly as it affects the courts.” —Jane Mayer, author of the national bestseller Dark Money

As the story of Supreme Court malfeasance and ethics violations repeatedly makes front-page news, the paperback version of The Scheme comes at a time of crisis for the American judiciary.

Following his book Captured on corporate capture of regulatory and government agencies, and his years of experience as a prosecutor, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, whom Senator Elizabeth Warren calls a “a powerful voice in defending our American democracy against the relentless, pervasive—and often hidden—power of corporate special interests,” here turns his attention to the right-wing scheme to capture the United States Supreme Court. Whitehouse chronicles a hidden-money campaign using an armada of front groups, helped by the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, employing the Federalist Society as an appointments turnstile, and with the same small handful of right-wing billionaires and corporations enticing the Senate to break rules, norms, and precedents to confirm wildly inappropriate nominees who would advance their anti-government agenda.

Now available in an affordable paperback edition with a new preface addressing the Reverend Schenck disclosures about politicking the justices and Justice Thomas’s recently disclosed conflicts of interest, The Scheme offers what Kirkus Reviews calls “a maddening indictment of a corrupt and corrupted judiciary.”


“An alarming . . . account of efforts to install conservative judges on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. . . . Whitehouse gathers copious evidence and strikes a fiery tone.”
Publishers Weekly
“A harrowing account of how right-wing billionaires and business interests have worked to capture the American judiciary—all the way up to the Supreme Court—to create an American plutocracy. Anyone who cares about the future of American democracy—indeed, the future of America, writ large—needs to read this book.”
—Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science, Harvard University, and author of Merchants of Doubt
“A damning investigation of dark money by a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Chapter and verse on how the U.S. Supreme Court was ‘captured.’”
The Boston Globe

News and Reviews


Watch an interview with The Scheme co-author Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Kirkus Reviews

Read a review of The Scheme by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Jennifer Mueller in Kirkus Reviews.

Goodreads Reviews