The disgraced Supreme Court whistleblower who was attacked for lying was once a mainstream media darling

Prior to Rev. Rob Schenck’s discrediting appearance at the House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, the pro-choice activist was held up as an authority on the pro-life movement by the mainstream media.

During the hearing, titled “Undue Influence: Operation Higher Court and Politicking at SCOTUS,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Schenck about a section in his book that claimed his brother “made history” by having Chief Justice William Rehnquist refer to him as “Paul Schenck” in a case. However, Jordan proved the activist wrong by providing an audio recording of the proceedings at the time.

“One thing I’ve learned: people who mislead people on little things mislead them on big things,” Jordan said.

Although Schenck’s credibility has now been called into question, he was heavily promoted as an authority figure in the mainstream media to attack the pro-life movement of which he had once been a part.

Rev.  Rob Schenck appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday

Rev. Rob Schenck appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday
(House Judiciary Committee)

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Schenck wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2019 denouncing the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying, “I’ve come to believe that overturning Roe would not be ‘pro-life’; it would rather be destructive of life.”

Back in July, Rolling Stone magazine political reporter Kara Vought cited Schenck as a counterpoint to Peggy Nienaber, a vice president at Faith & Liberty, who admitted she prayed with Supreme Court justices in a secretly recorded video. Schenck, who originally founded the ministerial group Faith and Action in the 1990s before disavowing it in 2018, condemned the group, arguing that their actions eventually influenced the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I was confident that while we were doing it, it would be a positive contribution to our public life,” Schenck said. “It didn’t have the effect I thought it would. In some ways, it set the stage for the reversal of Roe, which I now consider a social disaster.”

The comment was used by Vought to cast aspersions on the judges who prayed with Faith & Liberty. “This disclosure was a serious matter on its own terms, but it also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently litigates before the Supreme Court,” Voght wrote. In fact, Liberty Counsel merely filed an amicus brief in support of the Dobbs case.

Religious activists pray outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.  (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Religious activists pray outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The reporter also claimed that Liberty Counsel’s Faith & Liberty ministry was created from Schenck’s Faith and Action group, which Liberty Counsel disputed in a statement to Fox News Digital at the time.

“Liberty Counsel has no involvement with Rob Schenck. Faith & Liberty became a ministry of Liberty Counsel in 2018. While we employed two former employees of Rob Schenck’s organization, Faith and Action, Faith & Liberty is separate from Schenck’s defunct organization and has no association. with Rob Schenck. Faith & Liberty is a religious organization and does not engage in legal or political matters,” the statement read.

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Schenck was also spotlighted in a similar Politico piece in July for exposing his organization’s efforts to “wine, dine and entertain conservative Supreme Court justices while pushing conservative positions on abortion, homosexuality, gun restrictions and other issues.” The article noted that Schenck “broke with the religious right in the last decade over its aggressive tactics and support for gun rights.”

Schenck more recently became known for claiming that Justice Samuel Alito previewed the outcome of the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision to another conservative activist, who shared it with him. Although Alito denied this accusation and investigations have shown no evidence to support his claims, Schenck was supported in the media for his opposition to activism, as well as by the conservative majority on the court.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
((Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File))

“Mr. Schenck, 64, has changed his views on abortion in recent years, alienating him from many of his former associates, and is trying to re-establish himself, now as a progressive evangelical leader. His decision to speak out now about Hobby Lobby episode, he said, stems from his regret over the actions he claims led to his foreknowledge of the case,” New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker wrote in November.

They added: “He now regrets the tactics he once used, saying he had used women and babies as props. ‘In all my rhetoric about humanizing the fetus, I had very much dehumanized others,’ he said in the interview.”

Schenck’s claim that Alito leaked the decision to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case in 2014 is what led to his being called as a witness at the hearing Thursday.

After the hearing, MSNBC’s Jason Johnson continued to promote Schenck’s “fantastic testimony” without referring to Jordan’s questioning while serving as guest host of “The ReidOut.”

Schenck claimed he was tipped off about the decision in the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case.

Schenck claimed he was tipped off about the decision in the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case.
(Joshua Roberts)

“How dangerous is it to think our Supreme Court is completely compromised after today’s testimony? Is it even a legitimate branch of government anymore if even 80% of what we heard today and the testimony is standard procedure for many judges?” Johnson asked.

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Rep. David Cicilline, DR.I., responded: “What we heard today was truly shocking. This was a very sophisticated and well-financed campaign to influence the court to become more conservative, to consolidate their extreme positions. It was really shocking to hear the testimony.”

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