Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. denied Saturday a New York Times report alleging he leaked the results of the 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling, where the court said the feds couldn’t mandate corporations cover contraception under the Affordable Care Act.
A former pro-life leader, Rev. Rob Schenck, reportedly sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in June and told the New York Times — which published its report detailing the allegations on Saturday — that he learned of the outcome of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores prior to its release.
He said he was tipped off by a woman named Gayle Wright, who had dinner with Justice Alito and his wife.
But Justice Alito quickly issued a statement denying the claim.
“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,” Justice Alito said, according to The Washington Post.
“My wife and I became acquainted with the Wrights some years ago because of their strong support for the Supreme Court Historical Society, and since then, we have had a casual and purely social relationship,” Justice Alito’s statement read. “I never detected any effort on the part of the Wrights to obtain confidential information or to influence anything that I did in either an official or private capacity, and I would have strongly objected if they had done so.”
Mrs. Wright is also reportedly denying Mr. Schenck’s allegation, The New York Times noted.
The court issued a 5-4 ruling in 2014, ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, which challenged the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide contraceptive coverage through insurance plans.
The corporation claimed the requirement ran afoul of its First Amendment rights and the high court agreed, giving conservatives a major victory.
Mr. Schenck had used the intel about the ruling to help prepare his advocacy at the time, but has since changed his views on abortion and is seen as a progressive evangelical leader, The New York Times reported.
The news comes as the high court is still investigating who leaked Justice Alito’s draft opinion in May overturning the court’s 1973 landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, which gave women a national right to abortion. The court’s 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sent the issue of abortion back to the states.
Chief Justice Roberts tapped Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley days after the leak in May to lead the investigation.
Court watchers were aghast when news broke in May that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the decades-old precedent on abortion.
It was the first time a full draft opinion had been leaked in the Supreme Court’s 233-year history.