Two Democratic lawmakers claimed a Supreme Court attorney "did not substantively answer" questions pertaining to a 2014 leak at the court, the Washington Examiner reported. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) had sent a letter requesting answers earlier in November.
The chairmen of their respective House and Senate Judiciary Courts Subcommittees targeted an alleged leak of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision from Justice Samuel Alito, The Hill reported. Alito denied the charges through attorney Ethan Torrey with no further information.
"Through legal counsel, the Supreme Court reiterated Justice Alito's denials but did not substantively answer any of our questions," Johnson and Whitehouse claimed. "The Court's letter is an embodiment of the problems at the Court around ethics issues."
The letter was prompted by an earlier news report stating that Rev. Rob Schenck was told the outcome of the case through a donor before it was made public. That donor claimed that his information came following a dinner with the justice and his wife.
The Hobby Lobby case was brought after private companies were forced to pay for treatments through health insurance that were morally objective based on the owners' religious affiliation. The court would decide 5-4 in favor of the right to deny coverage for health plans that paid for things like contraceptives.
It seems likely that Alito shared a meal with another donor. However, an extensive investigation from Politico was "unable to locate anyone who heard about the decision directly from either Alito or his wife before its release at the end of June 2014."
Still, Johnson and Whitehouse sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts for clarification following Schenck's allegations. They had previously sent a letter in September about other justices being lobbied by religious organizations.
Whether the controversy is real or contrived, Schenck is not a disinterested party in this. He is an evangelical pastor who defected from the pro-life movement where he'd served as a lobbyist.
"I live with regret," he told NPR in 2018 about his previous activism in favor of saving the unborn. "I remember women — some of them quite young — being very distraught, very frightened, some very angry. Over time, I became very callous to that," he claimed.
Later, he said that abortion was "not a question for politicians," reversing his previous activism. "When your end goal is a political one, you will, without exception, exploit the pain and the suffering and the agony of those who face the issue in their daily reality, in their real life."
Perhaps Schenck's guilt complex has something to do with his targeting against Alito. Rep. Jim Jordan, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, charged that the attacks against Alito were politically motivated.
"The Left: -Baselessly attacks Justice Alito because he wrote the Dobbs opinion. -Completely ignores any real investigation into who leaked the Dobbs opinion," the Ohio Republican tweeted.
"All politics," Jordan concluded. Considering Alito drafted the opinion that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, it's easy to believe that he's now in the crosshairs.
The left is on the warpath following the decision that refers the abortion question back down to the states. Alito may or may not have leaked the Hobby Lobby decision, but the timing of these allegations is supremely suspect.