The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating another possible leak from the Supreme Court, following a New York Times report that said anti-abortion leaders knew about the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision before it became official.
The Times report, published Saturday, notes that Reverend Rob Schenck — an anti-abortion activist known for lobbying the Supreme Court — said in a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and in interviews with the Times that he was informed. The results of the 2014 issue are weeks before they are announced.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby states that companies can refuse to pay for birth control on religious grounds as provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Schenck, an evangelical minister and leader of a group called Faith and Action, told Politico earlier this year that he arranged for conservative couples to travel to Washington to share dinners and expensive evenings of entertainment with Supreme Court justices earlier this year. Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the late Antonin Scalia. Couples participating in Operation Supreme Court discussed conservative issues with the justices while being careful not to specifically mention current issues, according to Schenck.
Gayle Wright — who was among those who shared meals with the judges as part of the program — dined with Alito and his wife, Martha Ann, in 2014, and after a meeting with the justices, reportedly told Schenck of the outcome, according to The Times report.
Judge Alito denied the allegations in a statement to the Associated Press, saying that any “claim that the Wrights were told of the outcome of the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, or the authorship of the court’s opinion, by me or my wife, is completely false.”
If authenticated, the Hobby Lobby leak would be the second known Supreme Court leak. This summer, a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned the abortion protections brought by Roe v. Wade.
Dobbs’ decision was also authored by Alito.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Saturday indicating that the committee is “reviewing these serious allegations” and calling on Congress to pass a bill requiring the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics.
The Associated Press reports that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia also issued a statement on Saturday calling for a code of ethics to be established at the nation’s highest court, referring to the Times report as “another black mark on Supreme Court ethics.” that’s getting worse.” record” and say they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.”
Representatives for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Durbin, and the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to requests for comment.