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The Real Puppet Masters: Trump, the Judiciary, and the Heritage Foundation

### The Real Puppet Masters: Trump, the Judiciary, and the Heritage Foundation

By Hasan Salaam

In a recent hearing, Donald Trump's legal team argued to suppress evidence seized during an FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate. This move is part of a broader strategy that highlights a disturbing trend: the extent to which Trump appears to have the judiciary in his pocket. The real question, however, isn't just about Trump. It's about the unseen hands pulling the strings—the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank with a profound influence on American law and politics.

#### Trump's Legal Maneuvering

The three-day hearing concluded with Trump's lawyers attempting to suppress boxes of records seized by the FBI. They argue that the Justice Department's warrant application was misleading and overly broad, violating Trump's rights. While U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, expressed skepticism about these claims, her overall handling of the case has raised eyebrows. Critics argue that her approach has contributed to delays that make a pre-election trial nearly impossible.

Judge Cannon's actions are not isolated. They are part of a broader pattern where Trump-appointed judges seem to favor the former president's legal strategies. This isn't just about one judge or one case. It's about a judicial system increasingly shaped by Trump's appointees, many of whom owe their positions to the Heritage Foundation's influence.

#### The Heritage Foundation's Role

The Heritage Foundation has long been a powerhouse in conservative circles, crafting policies and laws that reach from local school boards to the federal judiciary. Their influence is evident in the appointments of judges who align with their ideological mission. These judges are often selected not just for their legal expertise but for their commitment to a conservative agenda that includes deregulation, restricting reproductive rights, and dismantling social safety nets.

This isn't merely about judicial appointments. The Heritage Foundation's impact extends to the very fabric of American lawmaking. They draft model legislation that state and federal lawmakers adopt, often verbatim. Through this process, they shape laws that govern everything from voting rights to environmental regulations, always with a conservative tilt.

#### A Corrupt System

Labeling Trump as the most corrupt president in history may seem hyperbolic, but it isn't far from the truth when you consider the systemic manipulation at play. Trump isn't operating in a vacuum; he's buoyed by a network of ideologically driven institutions like the Heritage Foundation. This network ensures that his influence persists long after his presidency, embedding his agenda within the judiciary and legislative frameworks.

The real danger lies not just in Trump's actions but in the infrastructure that supports him. The Heritage Foundation's ability to mold the judiciary and influence legislation represents a profound subversion of democratic processes. They create an environment where laws and legal interpretations serve a conservative agenda rather than the broader public interest.

#### The Path Forward

If we are to address this corruption, we must look beyond Trump and scrutinize the institutions that enable him. Reforming the judicial appointment process to reduce partisan influence and increasing transparency in legislative drafting are essential steps. Moreover, we must hold think tanks and lobbying groups accountable for their outsized influence on our democratic institutions.

In conclusion, while Trump may be the face of this corruption, the roots run much deeper. The Heritage Foundation and similar organizations represent a fundamental threat to democracy, shaping laws and judicial decisions to fit a narrow ideological framework. Addressing this issue requires a systemic overhaul to ensure that our laws and judiciary serve the public, not just the interests of a powerful few.

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