Lawmakers are calling for action after the alleged 2014 Supreme Court leak
Two Democratic congressmen are calling for an investigation into “serious allegations” that the outcome of a major contraceptive-related Supreme Court case in 2014 leaked ahead of schedule.
The allegations surfaced in a New York Times report over the weekend – in which former anti-abortion leader Rev. Rob Schenck claimed he was weeks before the public announcement of the Burwell v. Verdict. Hobby Lobby has been informed.
Schenck claimed two conservative activists briefed him on the upcoming verdict after the couple had dinner at the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and his wife.
Alito, who authored both the Hobby Lobby statement — which held that for-profit corporations have the right to refuse birth control to employees based on religious objections — and the June 24 statement tipping Roe versus Wade, said any claim that he or his wife leaked the 2014 decision was “completely false.”
Still, the allegations sparked immediate calls for an investigation by a Supreme Court still reeling from the leak of Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization earlier this year.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Saturday that the committee was “reviewing these serious allegations” — as he urged other members of Congress to pass legislation that would require the Supreme Court to pass a code of ethics.
“It is unacceptable that members of the country’s highest court should be exempted from the judicial code of ethics when wealthy special interests spend millions of dollars in black money to influence the court’s decisions,” Durbin said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) — who are chairs of congressional subcommittees that deal with courts — issued a separate statement, calling the Times report ” marked another black spot in the increasingly damaged ethical record of the Supreme Court”. and said they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.”
The Times story also included a letter Schenck, who used to run evangelical nonprofit Faith and Action, wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts last July, alerting him to the alleged 2014 violation.
Schenck wrote that he thought the information might be relevant in the context of investigating the leak of Dobbs’ draft opinion.
He was quoted by the Times as saying he worked for years to gain court access before two of his donors, Ohio couple Donald and Gayle Wright, had dinner with Alito in June 2014.
Schenck claimed he used prior knowledge of the verdict to prepare a public relations campaign, and he also tipped the president of Hobby Lobby — a Christian Evangelical-run crafts chain — that he would win the case.
According to the Times, Gayle Wright denied receiving or sharing any such information.
Alito also firmly rejected the allegations.
“The claim that the outcome of the Hobby Lobby decision or the authorship of the court’s judgment was communicated to the Wrights by me or my wife is utterly false. My wife and I met the Wrights a few years ago because of their strong support of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and we’ve had a casual and purely social relationship ever since,” he said in a statement released by the court.
“I have never noticed any effort on the part of the Wrights to obtain confidential information or to influence anything I did in an official or private capacity, and I would have strongly objected if they had done so. I am not aware of any project they have allegedly undertaken for Faith and Action, Faith and Liberty or any similar group and I would be shocked and insulted if these allegations were true.”
With mail wires
https://nypost.com/2022/11/21/lawmakers-demand-action-after-alleged-2014-supreme-court-leak/ Lawmakers are calling for action after the alleged 2014 Supreme Court leak