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Democrats calls for higher code of ethics over history of Supreme Court leaks

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that his panel is investigating “serious allegations” in a report that a former pro-life leader knew the outcome of a 2014 Supreme Court case in advance.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Rev. Rob Schenck said he found out about the outcome of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case weeks before it was made public. In a 5-4 decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his ruling that some companies with religious objections should be exempt from the contraceptive requirement in former President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill.

According to the Times, Schenck, who previously led the group Faith and Action, has said in other recent stories in Politico and Rolling Stone that he was part of a joint effort to build social and ministry relationships with conservative justices.

Schenck said the information about the Hobby Lobby decision came from Gail Wright, who a donor to his organization who and who had also joined Alito and his wife for dinner. Wright strongly denied sharing any information with The New York Times.

Durbin said on Saturday that the judiciary committee will be “reviewing these serious allegations,” and asked Congress to pass a bill that would require the high court to adopt a code of ethics.

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) said that the Times report is “another black mark on the Supreme Court’s increasingly marred ethical record.” They added that they “intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.”

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