Senate “Reviewing Allegations” Of Supreme Court Breach

November 21, 2022

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Saturday that the Committee is “reviewing these serious allegations,” following a new report that Supreme Court rulings may have been leaked in the past.

Durbin further called on fellow members of Congress to pass a bill that would require the Court adopt a code of ethics, for which critics of the Court have long been calling.

The Senator’s statement follows a New York Times report Saturday that a conservative religious leader, Rev. Rob Schenck, knew of the 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores ahead of the Court making it public.

The Times also published a letter Schenck said he wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in July alerting him to the alleged breach years ago. Schenck wrote that he thought the information might be relevant as part of the investigation into the leaked opinion on overturning Roe v Wade in the spring ahead of the June 24 Dobbs v Jackson ruling, which undid the 50-year-old Constitutional right to abortion. 

The Times’ story included an insistent denial by Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the Dobbs opinion and its spring precursor, that he was the source of the 2014 Hobby Lobby leak.

Two more Democrats, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, who chair courts subcommittees, issued a joint statement calling the Times report “another black mark on the Supreme Court’s increasingly marred ethical record.” They added that they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.” 

They also urged passing a code of ethics.

“We’ve heard a certain amount recently about how the Supreme Court is just about the only, if not the only, court in the country that doesn’t have a formal written ethics code for its members,” David Janovsky,  Analyst for the Constitution Project at POGO (Project on Government Oversight), told Political IQ in September. “I think that would help show that the Justices don’t perceive themselves as above the laws they’re entrusted with.”

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