Reverand Rob Schenck, a former prominent anti-abortion leader, told Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts that he was informed of the outcome of the 2014 Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby weeks before the decision was disclosed to the public. The New York Times published a letter from Schenck to Roberts on Saturday.
In Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that mandating family-owned corporations to pay the cost of insurance for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act infringed on religious freedoms. Schenck’s statements allege that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told his dinner guests how the court would rule in the landmark case.
According to Schenck, the outcome of the Hobby Lobby case was only known to a very small contingent of individuals. He explained:
I was informed by a donor to the Capitol Hill-based non-profit organization I led that she and her husband would be dining at the home of Justice and Mrs. Alito. She suggested that in their table conversation, she might be able to learn the status of the case […] I received a follow-up message from her notifying me she had indeed obtained the information during that visit.
A draft of the court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization similarly leaked in May. In his letter to Roberts, Schenck wrote, “Considering there may be a severe penalty to be paid by whoever is responsible for the initial leak of the recent draft opinion, I thought this previous incident might bear some consideration by you and others involved in the process.”
Roberts defended the Supreme Court’s legitimacy during his first post-Dobbs public appearance in September.