‘Operation Higher Court’: Inside the Religious Right’s Efforts to Wine and Dine Supreme Court Justices


The former leader of a religious right organization said he recruited and coached wealthy volunteers including a prominent Dayton, Ohio, evangelical couple to wine, dine and entertain conservative Supreme Court justices while pushing conservative positionson abortion, homosexuality, gun restrictions and other issues.

Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister who headed the Faith and Action group headquartered near the Supreme Court from 1995 to 2018, said he arranged over the years for about 20 couples to fly to Washington to visit with and entertain Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and the late Antonin Scalia.

The previously undisclosed initiative by Faith and Action illustrates the extent to which some Supreme Court justices interacted with advocates for the religious right during a period when the court grappled with social issues such as abortion and gay rights. The calculated nature of Faith and Action’s efforts shows how outside actors can use social activities and expensive dinners to penetrate the court’s highly sealed environment.

A review of more than a decade of financial disclosures from Thomas, Alito and Scalia found no reporting of restaurant or other meals as gifts, aside from food being included along with transportation and lodging expenses reimbursed by groups and entities sponsoring speaking events featuring the justices.

Earlier this week, News Views had a discussion about sitting Supreme Court Justices praying with evangelical leaders who had cases and arguments before the high court.

Lots more where that came from at Politico.

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