Democrats keen on another alleged Supreme Court violation

Democrats keen on another alleged Supreme Court violation

The Reverend Rob Schenck was a prominent warrior for the religious right culture for many years, before becoming disillusioned with the movement and distancing himself from his former far-right allies. His most provocative move, however, came earlier this month. The New York Times reported:

As the Supreme Court investigates the extraordinary leak this spring of a draft notice of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a former anti-abortion leader has come forward claiming another violation occurred in a landmark 2014 case involving contraception and religious rights. In a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and in interviews with The New York Times, the Reverend Rob Schenck said he was told the outcome of the 2014 case weeks before it was announced. He used the information to prepare a public relations campaign, according to the records, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the chain of craft stores owned by evangelical Christians who was the winning party in the deal.

According to information from The Times, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, the outcome of the Hobby Lobby case – a decision written by Judge Samuel Alito – “was only shared with a handful of lawyers”.

The article added that there was “a trail of contemporary emails and conversations which strongly suggested he knew the outcome and authorship of the Hobby Lobby decision before it was made public”.

The fact that Alito’s proposed decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked to Politico was a major development, but Schenck’s claims are a qualitatively different kind of story: If his claims are accurate, it suggests there was another leak about a another Decision Alito, not to journalists, but to select the curators.

The pushback was immediate. On the day the article was published, Alito told NBC News that any suggestion that he or his wife disclosed the outcome of the ruling was “completely false.”

That apparently didn’t convince skeptics on Capitol Hill. Politico reported last week on two key congressional Democrats who want to know what, if anything, Chief Justice John Roberts has done in response to the allegations.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) … wrote to Roberts on Sunday, saying that if the court doesn’t investigate the alleged ethical lapses, lawmakers are likely to launch their own probe.

This week, the story moved forward when Ethan Torrey, the Supreme Court’s own legal counsel, again insisted that Alito was not responsible for any disclosures and did not violate ethical standards. .

Democratic lawmakers didn’t seem impressed.

“Through counsel, the Supreme Court reiterated Justice Alito’s denials but did not substantively answer any of our questions,” Whitehouse and Johnson responded in a written statement. “The Court’s letter is an embodiment of the problems at the Court around ethical issues. Unlike all other federal courts, there is no formal complaints process; it took repeated letters from a senator and a congressman to galvanize a response.

“Unlike all other federal courts, there is no formal fact-finding process. Court counsel’s assertions of fact emerge from obscurity and overlook important facts like all the contemporaneous evidence that Mr. Schenck in fact knew in advance both the result and the perpetrator and acted upon that moment on that knowledge.

If Alito and Roberts are hoping for the story to fade away quietly, they’ll likely be disappointed: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said his panel is looking into the controversy. Hearings at the next Congress are a distinct possibility.

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