Speed Reads

Courtroom Calamities

Whistleblower alleges landmark Supreme Court case was leaked years prior to Roe v. Wade

An anti-abortion leader was reportedly notified of the outcome of a landmark Supreme Court case in 2014 prior to it being announced publicly — nearly eight years before the leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade this past summer cast the nation's eyes on the possible politicization of the court. 

An investigative report published Saturday in The New York Times revealed that Rev. Rob Schenck, who previously led an evangelical group in Washington, D.C., wrote a letter this past June to Chief Justice John Roberts regarding the 2014 case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In the letter, published in full by the Times, Schenck said he was able to learn the outcome of the case prior to its public release via an acquaintance of Associate Justice Samuel Alito. 

After learning of the case's outcome — which concerned contraception and religious freedoms — Schenck wrote that he was able to inform the head of Hobby Lobby and participate in a significant public relations push for the evangelical Christian-owned store. 

While the Supreme Court has been extremely closed off and was considered immune from leaks, Schenck's allegation would mark the second known landmark case to have its outcome leaked early, at least partially. The Times' report also comes as Americans are reportedly losing confidence in the court in waves. 

Roberts has not responded to the allegation. Alito, meanwhile, said in a statement to the Times that Schenck's letter was "completely false."