In a letter acquired by the New York Times, a former anti-choice religious figure allegedly told Chief Justice John Roberts that the leak of Associate Justice Sam Alito’s draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was not the first time the court’s lauded secrecy had been violated.
The Rev. Rob Schenck allegedly wrote the letter to Roberts in response to the Dobbs leak, alleging that details of the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision also found their way into the hands of religious authorities who utilized them to launch a PR campaign.
According to Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker of the Times, “According to Schenck, he was informed of the 2014 case’s verdict weeks before it was made public. Records reveal that he used the knowledge to plan a public relations campaign, and he claimed to have informed the president of Hobby Lobby—the network of Christian evangelical craft stores that ended up winning the case—at the last minute.”
“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,” the report adds.
“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.'”