An attorney for the Supreme Court In a short reply, the court dismissed questions regarding ethics. a letter from two top congressional Democrats Monday

Supreme Court Ethan Torrey is legal counsel replied To the inquiry by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Hank Johnson (D.Ga.), each in charge for overseeing the courts in their respective chambers.

The Two congressional investigators asked Chief Justice John Roberts for clarification on how the court handles ethical violations after news reports exposed them. pressure campaign by the Christian conservative group Faith & Action This allegedly led to Justice Samuel Alito Before its publication, he revealed the outcome of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby’s 2014 decision.

Torrey did not answer any of Whitehouse and Johnson’s questions regarding ongoing or potential ethics inquiries into the court’s leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, or into Alito’s alleged leak of the Hobby Lobby outcome. He did not specify which justices were presented gifts as part of religious right pressure campaigns.

Torrey, on the other hand, adopts the tone of a defense lawyer who blocks an investigation.

“There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethical standards,” He wrote.

Torrey’s letter simply restates Alito’s denial of the alleged leak, saying that The New York Times report that the conservative justice leaked the Hobby Lobby outcome to Donald and Gail Wright, two supporters of Faith & Action, remained “uncorroborated.” He continued to say that Alito They did not break any ethics by accepting meals or lodging from the Wrights, as the couple was ethically responsible. “never had a financial interest in a matter before the Court.”

“In addition, the term ‘gift’ is defined to exclude social hospitality based on personal relationships as well as modest items, such as food and refreshments, offered as a matter of social hospitality,” Torrey wrote.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito The outcome of Hobby Lobby’s 2014 Hobby Lobby case v. Burwell verdict was not leaked by Burwell.

Alex Wong via Getty Images

In a Nov. 20 letter, Whitehouse and Johnson demanded that Roberts say whether the court was investigating any aspect of Faith & Action’s pressure campaign, including former leader Rev. Rob Schenck’s allegation that Alito The Hobby Lobby results had been leaked. Schenck had written a letter to Roberts as the chief justice was investigating the leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization draft opinion to Politico.

The two congressmen also wanted to know if the court had considered taking a tougher approach to internal ethics in light of Schenck’s allegation and asked whether anyone is in charge of preventing conflicts of interest related to donations to the Supreme Court Historical Society. Schenck claims that Schenck directed his supporters how to get access to justice by donating to the society, and to attend its annual dinners.

Johnson and Whitehouse requested Roberts. “designate an individual knowledgeable about” Internal court ethics “to provide testimony to us about … issues related to ethics or reporting questions raised about justices’ conduct.”

“If the Court … is not willing to undertake fact-finding inquiries into possible ethics violations that leaves Congress as the only forum,” Johnson and Whitehouse asserted.