Calls for ethics inquiry follow explosive report on right-wing attempts to sway Supreme Court

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Advocates of court reform on Saturday called on Congress to investigate allegations that US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leaked a 2014 ruling to a right-wing donor, after The New York Times reported on the claim of a former leader of the pro-forced pregnancy movement.

Reverend Ron Schenck ran an evangelical Christian nonprofit in 2014 when the court ruled on Hobby Lobby vs. Burwellwhich allowed religious organizations to deny employees medical coverage for contraception.

The Time spent months investigating Schenck’s claim – which he also detailed in a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts in June – that Alito disclosed the court’s decision in the case to one of his major donors, three weeks before the decision was publicly announced.

“This explosive report is the latest evidence that the Court’s Republican justices are little more than politicians in robes.”

Schenck used his knowledge of the decision to “prepare a public relations campaign”, the Time reported, as well as talking to the president of Hobby Lobby about it.

During his time as a crusader against abortion rights – an issue on which he has since changed his mind – Schenck “enlisted wealthy donors … encouraging them to invite some of the judges to meals, to their vacation homes or private clubs. He advised allies to contribute financially to the Supreme Court Historical Society and then mingle with the justices while in office,” the report said. Time. “He ingratiated himself with court officials who could help him gain access, records show.”

Schenck sent a letter to Roberts in June, a month after a leaked draft ruling showing the court had voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade– by saying the information he has obtained on the hobby hall decision could be relevant to the court’s investigation into the recent leak. He told the Time he received no response.

The story “strongly suggests that Judge Alito disclosed the 2014 opinion in hobby halland describes a conspiracy by the far-right donor class to influence Supreme Court justices,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.), calling for a U.S. House investigation.

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, which advocates for court expansion and has call for an ethics investigation into right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas’ alleged conflicts of interest, said the Senate Judiciary Committee “should immediately investigate Justice Alito’s apparent flight.”

“The whistleblower in this report, the Reverend Rob Schenck, should be called to testify to both the leak and the years-long lobbying effort he once led to cultivate Alito and others. Republican judges,” he added.

“This explosive report is the latest evidence that the Republican judges on the court are little more than politicians in robes,” Fallon said. “It’s no wonder that trust in the Court has reached an all-time high. Structural reform of the Court, including tough new ethics rules, is needed now more than ever.”

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