Clint Bolick

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Clint Bolick

Clint Bolick is an Arizona Supreme Court Justice.[1] Before being named to the bench by Gov. Doug Ducey (AZ), he was Vice President for Litigation of Arizona's Goldwater Institute, a member of the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN),[2] and a research fellow with the Hoover Institution. He co-founded the Institute for Justice (and was its Vice President and Director of Litigation) and was president of the Alliance for School Choice.[3]

Bolick was an assistant at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was EEOC chairman. While working for the Landmark Legal Foundation, Bolick led the defense for the first Wisconsin school voucher program.[4] Before that, Bolick worked for the Mountain States Legal Foundation[5]

Until Bolick began presenting himself as a defender of low-income African American schoolchildren, he had been most closely associated with attacks on affirmative action. He is the author of "The Affirmative Action Fraud: Can We Restore the American Civil Rights Vision?" published by the Cato Institute.[4]

Bolick told the National Review with regard to Goldwater's litigation center, "We realized that on some issues we needed to go to court or we wouldn't be able to change anything."[6] SPN's focus includes lawsuits that make it harder to deal with the influence of money that in the view of many Americans, on the right and the left, is corrupting our democracy. For example, through Goldwater, Bolick and his colleague, Nick Dranias have worked to strike down Arizona's clean election laws, as shown by a 2013 report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Arizona Working Families. And then Goldwater paid them enormous bonuses, of $35,000 and $50,000 respectively, the year Goldwater got a million dollars in public taxpayer funds for attorneys' fees, the report notes. Goldwater also raised the salaries of Bolick, Dranias and its executive director in Phoenix to DC-type salaries. (One SPN document reveals that one of the services SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp provides is a salary review and comparison to help the think tanks set their executive pay; meanwhile, many SPN affiliates are heavily critical of how much public workers are paid, but groups like Goldwater pay their top staff exponentially more, as CMD has shown.)[7]

Tenure as Arizona Supreme Court Justice

Bolick was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Gov. Doug Ducey in January 2016. 'Think Progress called the Ducey's choice of Bolick, "The Most Chilling Political Appointment That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of" citing the now-justice's quarter-century efforts to "make the law more friendly to anti-government conservatives."[8]

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

Bolick was the recipient of a $250,000 award from the Bradley Foundation in 2006 for his work on school choice.

In 2014, the Bradley Foundation gave the Goldwater Institute $350,000 in first time support for a state-based litigation alliance tentatively named the Goldwater Litigation Alliance (GLA), “an effort begun in large part at Bradley’s behest to expand the capacity of state think tanks to include litigation within their institutional skill sets.” Bolick's leadership was explicitly cited as a reason for Goldwater to give that money.

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at

Articles and Resources

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  1. Dylan Smith, Goldwater Institute lawyer named to Arizona Supreme Court, Tucson Sentinel, January 6, 2016.
  2. Goldwater Institute, "Goldwater Staff", organizational website, accessed May 2013
  3. Goldwater Institute, People: Clint Bolick, organizational website, accessed December 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Job is a Right Campaign, Institute for Justice briefing paper, RightWatch, February 2, 2000.
  5. Jeffery Rosen The Unregulated Offensive The New York Times April 2005
  6. John J. Miller, Fifty Flowers Bloom: Conservative think tanks — mini--Heritage Foundations — at the state level, National Review, November 19, 2007.
  7. Center for Media and Democracy and Arizona Working Families, A Reporter's Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, March 2013, updated November 2013.
  8. Ian Millhiser The Most Chilling Political Appointment That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Think Progress January 6, 2018
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