Lawmakers urge action after report of other high court leak

Nov 20, 2022, 4:08 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2022, 2:22 pm
FILE - Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington o...

FILE - Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 16, 2022. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said his panel is reviewing "serious allegations" in a report Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, that a former anti-abortion leader knew in advance the outcome of a 2014 Supreme Court case involving health care coverage of contraception. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 involving health care coverage of contraception.

The report Saturday in The New York Times followed the stunning leak earlier this year of a draft opinion in the case in which the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion. That decision was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who is also the author of the majority opinion in the 2014 case at the center of the new report.

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

Schenck, who previously headed the group Faith and Action, has said in other recent stories in Politico and Rolling Stone that he was part of a concerted effort to forge social and ministry relationships with conservative justices.

In the Times story, Schenck said the information about the Hobby Lobby decision came from Gail Wright, a donor to his organization who was part of the outreach effort to the justices and who had dined with Alito and his wife. Wright herself denied obtaining or sharing any information in an interview with the Times.

The New York Times also published a letter Schenck said he wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in July alerting him to the alleged breach years ago. Schenck wrote that he thought the information might be relevant as part of a probe into the leak of the abortion decision.

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

Two fellow Democrats, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, who chair courts subcommittees, issued a statement calling the Times report “another black mark on the Supreme Court’s increasingly marred ethical record” and said they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.” They too urged passage of a code of ethics.

The Times’ story included an emphatic denial by Alito that he’d disclosed the outcome of the case. The court released Alito’s full statement to The Associated Press:

“The allegation that the Wrights were told the outcome of the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, or the authorship of the opinion of the Court, by me or my wife is completely false. My wife and I became acquainted with the Wrights some 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.

“I never detected any effort on the part of the Wrights to obtain confidential information or to influence anything that I did in either an official or private capacity, and I would have strongly objected if they had done so. I have no knowledge of any project that they allegedly undertook for ‘Faith and Action,’ ‘Faith and Liberty,’ or any similar group, and I would be shocked and offended if those allegations are true,” it said.

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

Alito was appointed to the high court in 2006 by President George W. Bush.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A child wearing a face mask and riding on a scooter passes by a worker in protective suit on his wa...
Associated Press

China eases some virus controls, searches pedestrians

BEIJING (AP) — More Chinese cities eased some anti-virus restrictions as police patrolled their streets to head off protests Thursday while the ruling Communist Party prepared for the high-profile funeral of late leader Jiang Zemin. Guangzhou in the south, Shijiazhuang in the north, Chengdu in the southwest and other major cities announced they were easing […]
2 hours ago
Professor Sean Turnell and his wife Dr. Ha Vu attend Question Time in the House of Representatives ...
Associated Press

Australian jailed in Myanmar applauded in Parliament

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Sean Turnell, an Australian economist who spent almost two years imprisoned in Myanmar, received a hero’s welcome Thursday at Australia’s Parliament House where lawmakers rose in a standing ovation and the prime minister praised his courage, optimism and resilience. Turnell, an adviser to Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was […]
2 hours ago
FILE - European Council President Charles Michel arrives to meet with European Union foreign policy...
Associated Press

China’s Xi urges Ukraine talks in meeting with EU’s Michel

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged negotiations on a political solution to the Ukraine conflict in talks with visiting European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV said. Xi was quoted as saying that “solving the Ukrainian crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the […]
2 hours ago
Witalij Miskow, 45, speaks about his mental trauma at a clinic which treats veterans for PTSD, post...
Associated Press

‘Do something:’ Ukraine works to heal soldiers’ mental scars

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Sleep plunges the soldier back into the horrors of Ukraine’s battlefields. He can hear bombs falling again and picture explosions. He imagines himself frantically running, trying to save himself and others. The nightmares are so vivid and frightening that he pleads with his doctor for help. “It will blow my mind,” […]
2 hours ago
A woman uses her phone in front of monitors showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm w...
Associated Press

Asian shares gain after Fed chair signals slower rate hikes

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares advanced in Asia on Thursday after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the Federal Reserve chair’s comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Signs that China may be shifting its approach to containing COVID-19 outbreaks to focus more on vaccinations also helped drive buying of […]
1 day ago
FILE - A man enters a gun shop in Salem, Ore., on Feb. 19, 2021. Voters in Oregon passed one of the...
Associated Press

Tough Oregon gun law faces legal challenge, could be delayed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Midterm voters in Oregon narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, buoying the hopes of gun control supporters, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines now faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it’s set to take effect. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Lawmakers urge action after report of other high court leak