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The 2014 Supreme Court Ruling Was Known to a Former Evangelical Activist, according to the New York Times, Before It Was Made Public
According to The New York Times, a former evangelical activist claimed in a letter to the Chief Justice of the United States that he was informed of the outcome of a 2014 Supreme Court ruling involving contraceptives and the Affordable Care Act before the official announcement.
The Times first learned about Rev. Rob Schenck’s letter to Chief Justice John Roberts this summer, in which he claimed to have been informed of the ruling’s outcome by rich political contributor Gayle Wright. Wright had dinner with Justice Samuel Alito and his wife and discussed the impending decision at the time, according to the letter, which was dated in June of this year but wasn’t sent until the following month.
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She said that she might be able to learn more about the case’s progress during their dinner talk because she knew I was interested in learning. She confirmed to me in a follow-up mail that she had really acquired the knowledge during that visit. She explained the news to me over the phone, and we spoke,” Schenck wrote, according to the Times.
The letter was confirmed to CNN by a person close to Schenck. The source informed CNN that “Mr. Schenck confirms the comprehensive data and facts he supplied regarding these incidents.” In a statement given to CNN on Saturday, Ad Feedback Schenck stated that his motivation was “truth-telling, which should be at the heart of Christian faith and practice.”
“My motive in coming forward is ancillary to my behind-the-scenes activity at the Supreme Court and that of my accomplices,” he claimed. “I believe it is now important for society, the Court, and the entire government to consider what exactly is meant by ethics, justice, and accountability. However, it is even more important for those of us who identify as Christians to do so.
This is completely and utterly out of hand. While there are many potential solutions, here’s one that the Court could adopt in one minute: OPERATE UNDER THE SAME ETHICS RULES AS EVERY OTHER FEDERAL JUDGE. https://t.co/BJ1ZGMFWZ4
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 19, 2022
The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case was the subject of the 2014 decision. A 5-4 decision by the court ruled that closely held family-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby could not be forced to pay insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act for some forms of contraception without breaking a federal regulation meant to safeguard religious freedom. It was written by Alito.
In a statement given to CNN on Saturday, Alito referred to the allegations regarding the dinner conversation as being “absolutely incorrect.” The Wrights and I have maintained a casual and purely social relationship ever since my wife and I met them some years ago thanks to their ardent support for the Supreme Court Historical Society. Alito stated, “I never observed the Wrights making any attempt to acquire sensitive information or to sway anything I did in either an official or private capacity, and I would have severely protested if they had done so.
Wright angrily refuted Schenck’s allegations in a Saturday interview with CNN. She added that Alito would never have discussed a specific case and that she would never have inquired about one, saying, “This whole thing is totally misinterpreted.”
Everyone is aware that cases are never discussed, she said. In an interview with CNN, Wright verified that she and her husband had dinner with the Alitos at their house. Wright recalled getting sick during the meal and Alito offering to drive her home.
She claimed that although she had occasionally visited the justice throughout the years, this was the only time she had eaten at his house. Any claim that they had discussed a case’s outcome was deemed “patently false” by her.
On Saturday, a source told CNN that Schenck never received a response from the court on his letter. On November 6, 2013, Rev. Rob Schenck addressed the media in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
In the letter, Schenck stated that he was disclosing the details at this time to help with the ongoing investigation into the leaked draught of the ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade. According to the Times article, “Mr. Schenck’s account of the breach has gaps,” but a series of emails and conversations suggest he was aware of the verdict before it was made public.
I thought this past occurrence could bear some attention, he wrote, “since there may be a heavy penalty to be paid by whoever is responsible for the initial leak or the latest draught opinion.” Alito drafted the opinion in this year’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, and it seemed to have the support of five justices to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Early in May, Politico got and published the draught opinion, and the leak that shocked the court sparked demonstrations around the country. In late June, the Dobbs decision officially overturning Roe was released. There has been a lack of transparency regarding the current situation, and the possibility of a previous leak could be damaging to the court, whose public trust is already at an all-time low.
The unprecedented investigation into the breach of confidentiality at the country’s highest court prompted sudden requests for private cell data from law clerks. Demand Justice’s executive director, Brian Fallon, urged the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday to “examine the potential leak.”
Fallon said in a statement that Rev. Rob Schenck, the report’s whistleblower, “should be invited to testify about both the leak and the years-long lobbying effort he previously oversaw to develop Alito and other Republican judges.”
The panel is considering these severe claims, which once again draw attention to the unacceptable “Supreme Court loophole” in federal judicial ethics regulations, according to committee chairman Dick Durbin. The Democrat from Illinois demanded that Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-Connecticut) plan, which would necessitate the adoption of an ethics code for justices by the Supreme Court, be passed.
In a statement on Saturday, Durbin said that it was unacceptable that judges on the nation’s highest court were exempt from the judicial code of ethics in light of the fact that powerful special interests were using millions of dollars in hidden funds to sway the court’s decisions.