The Times and POLITICO also reported that an organizer of this effort, the Reverend Rob Schenck, said he was alerted in 2014 to the impending victory of conservatives in the Hobby Lobby case over contraception coverage under Obamacare. Schenck argues that the first announcement of the decision, penned by Alito, came after an Ohio woman, Gail Wright, and her husband had dinner with Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann, at their home a few weeks before the decision is made public. Gail Wright denied having received or transmitted such a warning.
“Judge Alito said that neither he nor Ms. Alito advised the Wrights of the outcome of the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, or the authorship of the Court’s opinion,” Torrey wrote. The letter goes on to call this allegation “unsubstantiated,” citing POLITICO’s report that months of research into the allegation failed to locate anyone who said they heard the decision directly from Alito or his wife. in advance and the Times’ description of “gaps” in Schenck’s account.
Torrey also adamantly rejected the idea that the Alitos’ social interactions were against court rules, policies or practices.
“There is no suggestion that Judge Alito’s actions violated ethical standards,” Torrey wrote. “The relevant rules balance preventing gifts that could undermine public confidence in the judiciary and allowing judges to maintain normal personal friendships.”
The court’s more detailed response came after Whitehouse and Johnson blasted a letter the court sent them earlier this month, offering a series of generalities about court practice but not directly addressing their specific concerns about the court. lobbying effort of religious conservatives.
On Monday, Whitehouse and Johnson said the Supreme Court sidestepped key issues.
“Through counsel,” they said, “the Supreme Court reiterated Justice Alito’s denials but did not substantively answer any of our questions. The Court’s letter is an embodiment of the problems at the Court around ethical issues. Unlike all other federal courts, there is no formal complaints process; it took repeated letters from a senator and a congressman to galvanize a response.
Torrey’s letter was released by a court spokesperson, citing previous press inquiries about it.