An effort to drag the Supreme Court to the far right through prayer and social issues helped lead to the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
"Rev. Rob Schenck said on a religion-focused podcast released last week that the behind-the-scenes lobbying effort led by his former group Faith and Action to encourage the conservative justices to 'be bolder and far more assertive in their opinions' on social issues like abortion contributed to the sweeping nature of the five-justice majority’s decision to roll back abortion rights," Politico's Josh Gerstein reported. "Schenck’s latest claims are fueling a heated debate about outside influences on the court and whether justices’ family and social relationships are driving the court’s agenda and increasingly conservative bent."
Schenck headed Faith and Action for almost 20 years. The group is now known as Faith & Liberty.
“I can say with a certain level of certainty I don’t think we would have gotten the decision as it is worded from Justice Alito without the work we did,” Schenck said. "“It was a polemic from our side of the movement, which startled me, took my breath away. He was using phrases we had invented as bumper sticker slogans in a Supreme Court decision. It was breathtaking to me.”
The comments were made while being interviewed by Rabbi Jack Moline, on a podcast sponsored by the left-leaning Interfaith Alliance.
“You know, Washington is built on relationships. So, you build relationships and the Supreme Court justices have a very tight constellation of people that they keep company with,” Schenck said. “I set out to meet those people and build relationships with them and to set up arrangements where there were reciprocal debts owed. And one of the ways you pay a debt in Washington is you give access — you open doors for people that are in some cases, as with the court, that are otherwise impenetrable. I benefited from that. It took a long time to do that. At least a decade.”
Schenck said that Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas were the two justices remaining on the court that were most frequently targeted.
Gerstein reported, "last month, Rolling Stone reported on what appeared to be audio recorded outside the court around the time of the recent abortion ruling. The recording of Peggy Nienaber, who worked with Schenck at Faith and Action and who is now vice president of Faith & Liberty, captured her seeming to boast of holding prayer sessions at the court with justices. She later retreated from her apparent comments, insisting that she had not been part of such sessions in recent years."
Schenck is urging reform of the high court's ethics rules.“
I think things need to change at the court,” Schenck declared. “I’m not the best messenger for that and I realize that but somebody needs to herald that message.”
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