OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A former conservative activist turned progressive was the Democrats’ main witness for a Thursday hearing involving May’s unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The problem is that the witness — Rev. Robert Schenck — had been deemed untrustworthy by the Supreme Court in the past.
The Daily Caller reported that the Democratic House Judiciary Committee majority brought in Schenck as a witness after he accused Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the Roe ruling, of leaking decisions in 2014, though the high court in 1996 deemed Schenck “not entirely credible.”
The outlet noted: “Thursday’s hearing, entitled “Undue Influence: ‘Operation Higher Court’ and Politicking at SCOTUS” comes as a report of the allegations that Alito leaked information to a couple who had contact with Schenck. The reverend is slated to be the Democrats’ star witness during the hearing despite the Supreme Court’s conclusion that Schenck was an unreliable witness. In the 1996 case, Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, Schenck’s twin brother, Paul Schenck, was at the center of a lawsuit regarding attempts to “provoke” an escort outside an abortion clinic, according to the Buffalo News. Schenck was a witness on his brother’s behalf.”
“At the hearing, the Schencks insisted that they were not present at 1241 Main Street on December 29, 1990 as part of Project Rescue. Rather, they contend that they were there only to evangelize and preach. The Court finds, however, that their testimony in this regard is not credible,” court documents obtained by the outlet said.
The high court went on to question both brothers regarding charges that they had changed clothes in order to mislead pro-abortion advocates regarding the identity of Paul Schenck. After neither brother could recall the incident, the SCOTUS stated that justices believed “the Schencks’ inability to recollect the incident to be totally incredible.”
“Despite this history, the House Judiciary Committee is set to listen to Schenck’s allegations published in a New York Times report claiming he obtained information about the Supreme Court majority opinion for the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case after Alito had dinner with Schenck’s mutual friends,” The Daily Caller reported.
Mark Paoletta, a partner with the law firm Schaffer Jaffe and the only witness Republicans called, told the Daily Caller that Democrats were attempting to leak Alito to the Hobby Lobby case and, ultimately, the leak of the Roe/Dobbs decision.
“They’re connecting these two allegations, in my view baseless allegations, to connect Alito to the Dobbs leak,” he stated. “It’s completely false, but that’s what they’re trying to do.”
So far, person or persons who facilitated the leak of Alito’s draft ruling have not been identified publicly.
In an interview with CNN anchor Chris Wallace in late September, recently retired liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he had not been informed that the leaker has been identified.
“Within 24 hours, the chief justice ordered an investigation of the leaker. Have they found him or her?” Wallace asked.
“Not to my knowledge, but … I’m not privy to it,” Breyer responds.
Wallace followed up by asking: “So in those months since, the chief justice never said, ‘Hey, we got our man or woman?’”
“To my knowledge, no,” again responded Breyer, who, despite being retired, maintains an office at the Supreme Court.
Other justices have also spoken about the identity of the leaker and the court’s investigation.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed earlier this month that he hopes the investigation into the leak will soon be completed.
“The chief justice appointed an internal committee to oversee the investigation,” Gorsuch said. “That committee has been busy, and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope, soon.”
At the time, the nation’s highest court admitted that a “copy of a draft opinion in a pending case” was made public, but added that it did “not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”