Second major US Supreme Court leak calls for investigation

Washington, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – A former anti-abortion leader said he was informed in advance of the outcome of a landmark 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case involving contraceptives, the New York Times reported. Still reeling from the spillover of the landmark abortion rights ruling.

The Times Rev. Quoted by Rob Schenck.

Alito wrote that majority opinion, as well as Roe v. A recent opinion overturning the Wade decision, both victories for the religious right.

In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts and in an interview with The Times, Schenck, who leads an evangelical nonprofit in Washington, discussed Burwell v. He said he was informed in advance of Hobby Lobby’s ruling. rights, the newspaper said.

Schenk is using his knowledge of the ruling to prepare a public relations campaign, and the Times says he will also win the case against the president of Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain run by Christian evangelicals.

Alito said in a statement that any allegation that he or his wife leaked the 2014 decision was “absolutely false.”

Neither Schenck nor Chief Justice Roberts immediately responded to requests for comment.

Senator Dick Turpin, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a written statement that the committee was reviewing the allegations. He urged Congress to pass pending legislation that would create a code of conduct for the Supreme Court. Judges currently on the Supreme Court are not required to follow the binding protocols for judges in lower federal courts, which Durbin called “unacceptable.”

U.S. Rep. Montere Jones, Democrat of New York, wrote on Twitter: “Today’s NY Times op-ed strongly suggests that Judge Alito leaked a 2014 opinion to the Hobby Lobby, and describes a conspiracy by the far-right donor class to influence the Supreme Court. Justices, the House Judiciary Committee will investigate this until we can.” should.”

Brian Fallon, executive director of the progressive judicial group Demand Justice, said The Times’ report was “the latest proof that Republican justices on the court are little more than politicians in robes.”

“Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. At SCOTUS, the problems run deep,” U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, wrote on Twitter.

Court under scrutiny

A draft of the majority opinion to overturn Roe, which overturns five decades of abortion rights, was leaked in May, prompting scrutiny of the court’s practices, which critics accused of politicizing its conservative majority. Public approval of the court is at an all-time low, according to opinion polls.

Alito called the Roe leak, which was confirmed when the ruling was announced in June, a “gross betrayal.”

The Times cited Schenck as having worked for years to reach the court and in early June 2014 had a meal with his star donors, Ohio couple Donald and Gayle Wright, Justice Alito and his wife Martha. Ann.

Schenck said one of the Wrights told him that Alito had written the Hobby Lobby opinion and that it would be favorable to him, The Times said. The decision, announced three weeks later, says that allowing family-owned businesses to pay for contraceptive insurance violates their religious freedom.

In his statement, Alito said: “The allegation that the decision or the Court’s opinion in the Hobby Lobby case was dictated to the Wrights by me or my wife is completely false.”

“My wife and I became acquainted with the Wrights a few years ago because of their strong support for the Supreme Court Historical Society, and since then we have had a casual and purely social relationship,” Alito’s statement said.

“I never detected any attempt by the Wrights to obtain confidential information or to influence anything I did, official or private, and if they had done so I would have strongly opposed it.”

Gayle Wright, in a phone interview, denied receiving or sending any such information, the Times reported.

She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Laura Sanicola and Nate Raymond; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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