MOUNT DESERT — Northeast Harbor seasonal resident Leonard Leo, who has been called President Donald Trump’s “judge whisperer,” had a hand in Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Leo is co-chairman and former executive vice president of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservatives and libertarians that supports an “originalist interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution. It advocates for the appointment of anti-abortion rights judges to the federal courts.
Leonard has advised Trump on the nomination of a number of federal judges and, according to the Federalist Society, assisted with the selection and confirmation process for Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“He also organized the outside coalition efforts in support of the [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito U.S. Supreme Court confirmations,” the Federalist Society website states.
In 2017, according to national news reports, Leo and former White House Counsel Don McGahn met with Trump in the Oval Office and gave him the names of five judges to add to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Two of the five names on the new list were Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The New Yorker magazine has called Leo “in effect, Trump’s subcontractor” for nominations to the Supreme Court.
Leo purchased his summer home on South Shore Road in Northeast Harbor for $3.3 million in October 2018.
On Aug. 8, 2019, he hosted a campaign fundraising event there for Sen. Susan Collins, who was in attendance.