The Gray Lady strikes again. A recovering wingnut evangelical pastor has thrown a hand grenade at our old pal Sam the Sham Alito:
“In a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and in interviews with The New York Times, the Rev. Rob Schenck said he was told the outcome of the 2014 case weeks before it was announced. He used that information to prepare a public relations push, records show, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain owned by Christian evangelicals that was the winning party in the case.
Both court decisions were triumphs for conservatives and the religious right. Both majority opinions were written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. But the leak of the draft opinion overturning the constitutional right to abortion was disclosed in the news media by Politico, setting off a national uproar. With Hobby Lobby, according to Mr. Schenck, the outcome was shared with only a handful of advocates.”
It appears that Schenck has been dining out on this dinner party story for years:
“In early June 2014, an Ohio couple who were Mr. Schenck’s star donors shared a meal with Justice Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann. A day later, Gayle Wright, one of the pair, contacted Mr. Schenck, according to an email reviewed by The Times. “Rob, if you want some interesting news please call. No emails,” she wrote.
Mr. Schenck said Mrs. Wright told him that the decision would be favorable to Hobby Lobby, and that Justice Alito had written the majority opinion. Three weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. The court ruled, in a 5-4 vote, that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance covering contraception violated their religious freedoms. The decision would have major implications for birth control access, President Barack Obama’s new health care law and corporations’ ability to claim religious rights.”
The Hobby Lobby case’s religion loophole has opened the door to discrimination against the LGBTQ community in first amendment drag. It’s already eroded the privacy rights enshrined in the Griswold case and dissed by Alito in Dobbs.
Sam the Sham and his little friends the Wrights have denied the story. But it’s credible enough for the Gray Lady. I tend not to believe people with a motive to lie. I’m looking at you, Sammy the Shammy as you try to shimmy your way out of this mess.
We already knew what a monumental hypocrite Alito is, but this takes the cake. For a Supreme to dine out on an upcoming opinion is reprehensible. It once would have been unthinkable, but Sam the Sham is above the rules guiding mere humans.
It’s already been determined that the Dobbs opinion was leaked by a right-winger hoping that the court would stick to its guns and overrule Roe and Casey. This story makes me wonder if the leak came from someone close to Sam the Sham. Make that very close.
Back to the source of the story, Rob Schenck. I had never heard of the outreach efforts he called Operation Higher Court. It sought to influence SCOTUS through the efforts of donors such as the aforementioned Wrights. Mr. Wright is a real estate developer. Say no more.
“When the Hobby Lobby case was argued before the Supreme Court in March 2014, Mrs. Wright and her husband watched from a select spot: seats in the courtroom reserved for guests of Justices Scalia and Alito.
“We were invited to use seats from Nino and Sam,” she had written to Mr. Schenck days earlier, using nicknames for the justices. “Wow!”
In the interview, Mrs. Wright said she used such seats “all the time” because “Nino and my husband were very good friends.” She was eager to hear the Hobby Lobby arguments, she added, because she had an interest in “all cases related to biblical issues.
Her ties were the result, in part, of years of effort by Mr. Schenck.”
Did they go to the opera with Scalia too? Probably not. Some operas are too pagan for bible bangers like the Wrights, My understanding is that Scalia’s taste mostly ran to Italian operas although as a hunter he might have dug the Wagner parody, What’s Opera, Doc?
The Wrights weren’t the only fat cats Schenck threw at the Supremes. He used two hooks to entice right-wing Justices: Flattery and donations to the Supreme Court Historical Society. Schenck regrets his efforts now but back in the day he threw himself at the Justices including-you guessed it-Sam the Sham and Mr. Ginni Thomas:
If you don’t have a NYT subscription, use a free read on this SCOTUS story. It feels like another Pulitzer Prize winner for Jodi Kantor. Kantor helped take down Harvey Weinstein along with her colleague Megan Twohey. This time Kantor worked with Jo Becker on this brilliant expose of SCOTUS sleaze. I wonder if Ronan Farrow is on the job as well. If so, watch out Supremes.
Did I just compare Sam the Sham Alito to Harvey Weinstein? No, but they have one thing in common: sleazy behavior exposed by the NYT. Harvey is a liberal sleazeball and Sam is a right-wing one. Sleazeballs gotta sleaze.
Upon reading the article the image of a hobby horse lodged in my mind. Hence the title. I’m not crafty, so I’ve never entered a Hobby Lobby and never will. It’s time to dismount my hobby horse and conclude this post. But first the only song I could find with hobby horse in the title:
Sam the Sham Alito has disgraced the Supreme Court again. He should permanently recuse himself from the bench, but we know he won’t. Sam the Sham is shameless.
The last word goes to Billy Joel: