Supreme Court accused of leaking 2014 anti-choice ruling to religious leaders weeks before it was made public: report
Chief Justice John Roberts (Photo via Brendan Smialowski for AFP)

According to a letter obtained by the New York Times, a former anti-choice religious leader informed Chief Justice John Roberts back in June that the leak of Associate Justice Sam Alito's majority draft opinion gutting Roe v Wade was not the first time the court's vaunted secrecy was breached.

According to the report, the Rev. Rob Schenck wrote the letter to Roberts in light of the Dobbs leak, claiming information on the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling also made its way into the hand of religious leaders who used it to conduct a PR campaign.

As the Times' Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker wrote, "Schenck said he was told the outcome of the 2014 case weeks before it was announced. He used that information to prepare a public relations push, records show, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain owned by Christian evangelicals that was the winning party in the case."

The report adds, "Mr. Schenck’s allegation creates an unusual, contentious situation: a minister who spent years at the center of the anti-abortion movement, now turned whistle-blower; a denial by a sitting justice; and an institution that shows little outward sign of getting to the bottom of the recent leak of the abortion ruling or of following up on Mr. Schenck’s allegation."

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"Mr. Schenck, who used to lead an evangelical nonprofit in Washington, said he learned about the Hobby Lobby opinion because he had worked for years to exploit the court’s permeability. He gained access through faith, through favors traded with gatekeepers and through wealthy donors to his organization, abortion opponents whom he called “stealth missionaries,” the Times is reporting before adding the tip came from key donors who reportedly had dinner with Alito and his wife.

"Mr. Schenck said Mrs. Wright told him that the decision would be favorable to Hobby Lobby, and that Justice Alito had written the majority opinion. Three weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. The court ruled, in a 5-4 vote, that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance covering contraception violated their religious freedoms," the report states with Alito issuing a statement saying that "he and his wife shared a 'casual and purely social relationship' with the Wrights, and did not dispute that the two couples ate together on June 3, 2014. But the justice said that 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.'"

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