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Judson Phillips

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Judson Phillips is a controversial attorney who organized (and whose family profits from) the for-profit corporation Tea Party Nation, which organized the first national Tea Party convention in February 2010. In the decade prior to this money-making enterprise, Phillips had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the federal code and had no less than three liens against him (Phillips claims the liens are now paid off).[1]

Quick Summary of Controversial Claims

Blames Liberals for Giffords Shooting. Among other repugnant things said by Judson Phillips was his effort to get his followers to blame the deranged shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on liberals. He urged his flock of Tea Partiers to repeat his claims that "The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words.”[2]

Calls Wisconsin Citizens Protesting Walker Nazis. In August 2011, Judson Phillips also made the malicious claim that Wisconsin citizens opposed to Governor Scott Walker’s union busting and public education cuts were like Nazi “brownshirts” and “storm troopers.”[3] Phillips is touring Wisconsin, as of August 2011, connected to the David Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity's rallies for right-wingers during the historic effort to recall Republican senators who embraced Walker's agenda. (The bus tour is part of "Tea Party Express III.")

Thinks Only Property Owners Should Be Able to Vote. Phillips has also advocated the radical regressive position that only property owners should be allowed to vote, an effort that would roll back the rights of millions of American citizens. [4]

Urged Religious Discrimination in Voting. Phillips also urged voters to discriminate based on religion, expressly urging Minnesota voters to vote against Congressman Keith Ellison because he is a Muslim.[5]


A Tennessean, Judson Phillips defends people accused of drunk driving crimes and other criminal offenses. He has been a litigator for 13 years, as of 2011.[6] He graduated from the University of Memphis Law School, a "third tier law school" (not one of the top 100 law schools in the U.S.).[7] On his law firm website, he touts his membership in criminal defense associations (which means that he pays dues to these associations); in fine print, his website acknowledges he is "Not certified as a Criminal Trial Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization."

Controversy Relating to His For-Profit Tea Party Activities

Phillips is known for organizing the for-profit corporation Tea Party Nation, which organized the first national Tea Party convention in February 2010. The convention was met with controversy due to the price of admission -- $549 plus an extra $9.95 fee.[8]

His convention was held in February 2010 and was reportedly attended by 600 Tea Party activists, despite all the press by FOX and others amplifying the size of Tea Party activism in the U.S.[9] Apparently, over 150 reporters were credentialed to attend this "event," one reporter for every four participants.[10] Some Tea Partiers criticized the event, including Erick Erickson of the conservative blog who called it "scammy."[11]

Another convention booked by Tea Party Nation was cancelled in the midst of controversy, and, in July 2011, the Venetian Casino Resort filed suit alleging that Judson's enterprise was liable for unpaid bills of over a half-million dollars ($642,144).[12]

Related Sourcewatch resources

External resources

Web site:


Judson Phillips Nashville Office 209 Tenth Avenue South, Suite 426
Nashvillle, TN 37203
Phone: 1-615-599-6000
Fax: 1-615-599-3484
Email: judson AT


  1. Dean Walker, "Wisconsin: Here Comes the Brownshirts," Ground Report (Aug. 8, 2011), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011).
  2. Rick Ungar, "Tea Party Shamed By Founder Judson Phillips," Forbes (Jan. 9, 2011), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011) (His piece was titled "Don't Blame Us, Blame the Leftist Lunatics."
  3. Dean Walker, "Wisconsin: Here Comes the Brownshirts," Ground Report (Aug. 8, 2011), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011).
  4. Zaid Jilani, "Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners ," Think Progress (Nov. 30, 2010), available at (accessed Aug. 7, 2011)
  5. Eric Lach, "Tea Party Nation: Retire Rep. Ellison For Being A Muslim," TPM (Oct. 24, 2010), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011). Congressman Ellison won the race, despite the efforts by Phillips to rile up discriminatory sentiment.
  6. Judson Phillips Law firm Web site, accessed January 28, 2010
  7. Top Law Schools, available at (accessed Aug. 7, 2011)
  8. Kate Zernike Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention, New York Times, January 25, 2010
  9. David Weigel, "Media at the Tea Party Convention," Washington Independent (February 5, 2010), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011).
  10. Id.
  11. Kate Zernike, "Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention," New York Times (Jan. 25, 2010), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011)
  12. Benjamin Spillman, "Las Vegas resort sues tea party group over hotel bill," Las Vegas Review-Journal (July 18, 2011), available at (accessed Aug. 8, 2011)
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