Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) exposed on Thursday the credibility of the man who accuses Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito of leaking a court ruling in 2014.
What is the background?
Former pro-life advocate Rob Schenck claims Alito told a mutual friend the outcome of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby before the court announced its ruling. Schenck disclosed his allegations in a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts this summer, which the New York Times reported on last month.
The Supreme Court, however, has defended Alito, who has maintained his innocence. Other key players in the story, such as the mutual friend, also deny that Alito leaked the ruling, and the Times could not uncover any definitive proof corroborating Schenck's claims.
What did Jordan do?
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on Supreme Court ethics and Schenck's claims, Jordan addressed Schenck directly and demonstrated that he has a history of being untruthful.
After confirming with Schenck that he maintains his claims about Alito, Jordan reminded Schenck of a book he wrote four years ago. In that book, Schenck wrote about another Supreme Court case that involved his brother.
Jordan read an excerpt from the book, which says:
With a single rap of the gavel, Chief Justice William Rehnquist announced: "We'll hear argument first this morning in Number 95-1065, Reverend Paul Schenck and Dwight Saunders vs. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York." Paul and I winked at each other, knowing we had made history with that "Reverend" in his name. It had been a minor victory when we persuaded the court that "Rev." should remain before Paul's name, even though we had been told repeatedly that legal briefs never included such titles. Paul knew that even if the justices didn't see it that way, our supporters and opponents needed to. "Reverend Paul Schenck" ensured we could cast the conflict as a religious liberty case and not one about blockading clinics.
Jordan then drove home his point.
"You thought it was important that ... the title 'reverend' be in front of Paul's name, is that right?" the congressman asked.
"Because we saw [the case] as a religious liberty matter and that would make it clear that it fit in that category," Schenck responded.
"Did Chief Justice Rehnquist really say that the way I just read it from your book?" Jordan followed up.
The question clearly rattled Schenck, who began hedging.
"Uhhh," he said with a shaky voice. "I can't say that I remember."
When Jordan noted that Schenck was certain about minute details just a few years ago, Schenck admitted, "I would have to go back and review that."
"We did go back, and I've got the transcript right here," Jordan fired back.
SHOCK MOMENT: Jordan Confronts Dem Witness With Transcript & Audio, Accuses Him Of Lying To Congresswww.youtube.com
Not only did Jordan produce the court transcript from the case involving Schenck's brother — revealing that, in fact, then-Chief Justice Rehnquist did not refer to his brother as a "reverend" — but he obtained audio of Rehnquist that confirmed the accuracy of the transcript. Jordan thus demonstrated that Schenck lied in his book.
"One thing I've learned: People who mislead folks on small things mislead them on big things," Jordan told Schenck.
"You can lie in a book; that's not a crime. You can lie to the New York Times; that's not a crime. But when you come in front of Congress, and you say things that are not true, you're not allowed to do that," he exclaimed. "You're not supposed to do that."