The House Judiciary Committee called Rev. Robert Schenck to testify against Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a hearing over leaks of a 2014 opinion, the Daily Caller reported. However, Schenck was deemed "not entirely credible" by the Supreme Court in 1996.
The pro-life advocate who became an abortion enthusiast was the main witness at the hearing "Undue Influence: 'Operation Higher Court' and Politicking at SCOTUS" Thursday. Schenck has alleged that Alito revealed the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. opinion that had yet to be publicized.
The justice had dinner with a couple whom Schenck, a mutual friend, claims Alito allegedly shared the information with. Recently, the reverend told the New York Times this tale about Alito and was asked to give his testimony to the Democrat-led committee.
Schenck had also sent a letter dated June 7, 2022, to Chief Justice John Roberts following the leak of the Dobbs decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. "Considering there may be a severe penalty to be paid by whoever is responsible for the initial leak of the recent draft opinion, thought this previous incident might bear some consideration by you and others involved in the process," Schenck wrote.
"Of course, I would be happy to fully cooperate should you find any value in other details surrounding what I have transmitted here." However, Schenck's reputation for dishonesty was established at the court decades ago.
The reverend testified at a 1996 Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York case involving his twin brother, Paul Schenck, who was accused of attempting to "provoke" an abortion mill escort. Robert Schenck claimed in his testimony that he and his brother weren't activists but were just there to minister and pray.
"At the hearing, the Schencks insisted that they were not present at 1241 Main Street on December 29, 1990, as part of Project Rescue," court documents stated. "Rather, they contend that they were there only to evangelize and preach."
"The Court finds, however, that their testimony in this regard is not credible," it concluded. They were also accused of switching clothes to throw off the investigation.
Neither could recall whether that happened, and the Court determined "the Schencks' inability to recollect the incident to be totally incredible." Still, Robert Schenck was called as the star witness against Alito.
It's possible that Schenck, who is now a progressive activist, is eager to help Democrats for another reason. Attorney Mark Paoletta, who is the Republicans' only witness, testified that the allegations against Alito are an attempt to link him to a more recent leak.
"They're connecting these two allegations, in my view baseless allegations, to connect Alito to the Dobbs leak," Paoletta said. "It's completely false, but that's what they're trying to do."
Paoletta also pointed out that Robert Schenck has admitted his penchant for prevarication on his own blog. "In my 64-plus years, I've not only believed a fair number of consequential lies, I've promulgated them," Schenck wrote.
"Sometimes I did it knowingly, and at other times, unwittingly," he said. "I also protected lies told by others. I'm resolved not to do any of this anymore," the reverend confessed.
Even if Robert Schenck is right about Alito and the Hobby Lobby decision, telling friends is different than providing a draft of the opinion to the media. Moreover, the Dobbs decision was in jeopardy because of threats and intimidation prior to the official opinion's release -- and surely Alito would have foreseen that anyway.