Letter responding to Hobby Lobby allegations sheds some light on Dobbs leak.
The post After VERY THOROUGH 10-Second Investigation, Supreme Court Declares Justice Alito Didn’t Commit Ethical Breach appeared first on Above the Law.
After someone leaked the draft Dobbs opinion striking down reproductive freedom rights, the justices dutifully bitched and moaned about the audacity that the Court might be subject to even the slightest imposition of transparency, lawyers bent over backward to explain why the leak was so much worse than the demolition of freedoms, and the rest of us started taking bets on whether we thought Ginni Thomas or Sam Alito did this.
Chief Justice John Roberts promised a comprehensive investigation to catch the culprit and conservatives heard an earful from the media about the deadly seriousness of this non-crime. Amidst this drumbeat Reverend Rob Schenck, a former die-hard anti-abortion activist, felt obliged to confess to the Chief that he was informed in advance about the Hobby Lobby decision — giving companies the constitutional right to deny employees health care if they can cite a deeply held belief that they don’t like paying for insurance coverage — and that this leak sprung from Alito through the network of right-wing activists routinely meeting with, eating with, and even praying with the justice.
Well, the Supreme Court took these allegations very seriously and committed to an investigation that, in contrast to the Dobbs leak probe, managed to get to the bottom of it a mere eight days after congressional leaders flagged the issue. The verdict, delivered in a letter from SCOTUS legal counsel Ethan V. Torrey…
Justice Alito has said that neither he nor Mrs. Alito told the Wrights about the outcome of the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, or about the authorship of the opinion of the Court.
Well then! If he says it didn’t happen, that pretty much closes the book on it, doesn’t it?
Torrey notes that both Politico and the New York Times had noted that they could not fully corroborate the story. As a reminder, Politico and the New York Times are news publications operating off what they can dig up from afar, while Torrey works for the same institution that demanded every clerk’s cell phone as part of the Dobbs investigation. It would seem as though Torrey’s office could have secured calendars, emails, texts, and phone records to investigate an allegation that SAM ALITO HIMSELF considers a matter of life and death.
But for this one, I guess the Supreme Court feels that if Politico and the Times couldn’t dig up enough dirt from cold-calling self-interested parties, then that’s good enough.
Look, it may be true that Alito never leaked that opinion… but the Supreme Court as an institution has exactly ZERO interest in finding out if that’s true or not.
There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethics standards. Relevant rules balance preventing gifts that might undermine public confidence in the judiciary and allowing judges to maintain normal personal friendships.
Which is true to the extent that the Supreme Court abides by no ethical standards. Torrey shifts the letter to a song and dance about Alito never reporting a gift from the people Schenck claims received Alito’s leak, not that reporting requirements really cover wining and dining a justice.
While there may never be a resolution to this Hobby Lobby allegation, the letter provides critical insight into the course of the Dobbs investigation that kicked off with such sturm und drang before fizzling into an afterthought for months. The Supreme Court will devote all its powers to root through the records of any clerk or staff member that could have leaked the opinion, but when it comes to the justices — and presumably their families — the depth of the inquiry is “well, they said they didn’t do it.”
If that doesn’t illuminate why the Court is months and months into this “investigation” while turning up nothing, then you aren’t paying attention.
Earlier: Samuel Alito Only Thinks Supreme Court Leaks Are The Worst When He’s Not The One Doing The LeakingSamuel Alito Is Back On His Histrionics Over Dobbs LeakChief Justice Wants You To Know He Has The Utmost Contempt For You
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.