Lawmakers urge action after report of other high court leak

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said his panel is reviewing “serious allegations” in a report that a former anti-abortion leader knew in advance the outcome of a 2014 Supreme Court case which included health care coverage on abortion.

Saturday’s report in the New York Times followed the surprising leak earlier this year of a draft opinion in the case in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion. That decision was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who also authored the majority opinion in the 2014 case at the heart of the new report.

In the Times story, the Rev. Rob Schenck that he learned the outcome of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores weeks before the decision was made public. In a 5-4 decision, Alito wrote that some companies with religious objections can avoid the abortion requirement in President Barack Obama’s health care legislation.

Schenck, a former head of the Faith and Action group, has said in other recent stories in Politico and Rolling Stone that he was part of a joint effort to create social and ministry relationships with conservative judges.

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In the Times story, Schenck said the information about Hobby Lobby’s decision came from Gail Wright, a donor to his group who was part of the justice outreach effort and had dined with Alito and his wife. . Wright himself denied receiving or sharing any information in an interview with The Times.

The New York Times also published a letter that Schenck said he wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts in July warning him about the alleged violation years ago. Schenck wrote that he believed the information could be relevant as part of an investigation into the abortion decision.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Saturday that the committee is “reviewing these serious allegations,” and asked fellow members of Congress to pass a bill that would require the high court to adopt a code of ethics.

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Two fellow Democrats, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, who chairs the judiciary subcommittees, issued a statement calling the Times report “another black mark on the ethics record of Supreme Court that is increasingly dead” and said they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.” They also urged the transfer of a code of ethics.

The Times story included a strong denial by Alito that he had disclosed the outcome of the case. The court released Alito’s full statement to The Associated Press: “The claim that the Wrights were informed of the outcome of the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, or the authorization of the Court’s opinion, by myself or my wife is entirely fake My wife and I became acquainted with the Wrights a few years ago because of their strong support of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and since then, we have had a casual and purely social relationship.

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“I found no attempt by the Wrights to obtain confidential information or to influence anything I did in an official or private capacity, and I would have protested strongly if they had done so.” I have no knowledge of any project they are said to have undertaken for Faith and Action, ‘Faith and Liberty’, or any other group, and I would be shocked and appalled if such allegations were made. true,” he said.

Schenck’s Faith and Action organization became Faith & Liberty after becoming part of Liberty Counsel in 2018.

Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2006 by President George W. Bush.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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