Dems Give Chief Justice Deadline To Act On Their Quiz On Alito
Top Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees demanded on Sunday that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts comply with their investigation into the court’s refusal to abide by ethics laws, Paul Blumenthal reported for HuffPost.
Photo Insert: The letter to Chief Justice Roberts came a day after The New York Times reported that Justice Samuel Alito leaked the outcome of a 2014 decision in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell.
And if the court continues to suggest it’s not serious about policing itself, Congress will step in, warned the joint letter from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), chairs of the subcommittees overseeing the federal judiciary in their respective chambers.
“If the Court ... is not willing to undertake fact-finding inquiries into possible ethics violations that leaves Congress as the only forum,” they wrote.
The letter came a day after The New York Times reported that Justice Samuel Alito leaked the outcome of a 2014 decision in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. Alito reportedly spoke about the decision ahead of its release to Supreme Court Historical Society donors who were part of an influence operation led by a former conservative evangelical leader, Rev. Rob Schenck.
The two lawmakers firmly stated Congress’ right to investigate the court and demanded Roberts provide information related to the influence operation run by Schenck through his Faith & Action group. The Associated Press (AP), Reuters and Raw Story also reported on the ultimatum.
They also demanded information about Schenck’s letter to Roberts in July disclosing that he learned about the Hobby Lobby outcome days before it came down from one of his volunteers after she attended a dinner with Alito and his wife.
Schenck sent his letter as part of the court’s investigation into the leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Alito, who authored both the Dobbs and Hobby Lobby decisions, denied leaking the Hobby Lobby outcome. Whitehouse and Johnson asked Roberts to identify the individuals or offices involved in investigating any element of the influence campaign or Schenck’s allegations about Alito.
It also asked him to identify those in charge of “policing the relationship between the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court Historical Society to ensure that paid membership in the Society is not used as a means of gaining undue influence.”