The Supreme Court has the capacity to serve as a beacon for equal justice under the law. But recent bombshell disclosures by the Rev. Rob Schenck, former head of Faith and Action, revealed a religiously motivated influence campaign targeting members of the Supreme Court to “embolden the justices” to issue increasingly conservative decisions on key issues. He first shared details surrounding this effort on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s regular podcast and radio program, in July 2022.
During the period Rev. Schenck was active, the Supreme Court has grown increasingly receptive to religious freedom claims levied by conservative Christian legal entities. As a result, Americans who have historically been protected under robust civil rights and civil liberties laws face increased harm. This shift is not a victory for religion, but a win for the many groups aligned with Operation Higher Court in warping our first freedom.
On December 8, 2022, the House Judiciary Committee explored this urgent issue in a hearing titled “Undue Influence: Operation Higher Court and Politicking at SCOTUS.” In a written statement to the Committee, Interfaith Alliance director of Policy & Advocacy Katy Joseph offered two important pieces of context. First, during the period in which Operation Higher Court was underway, the Court experienced a dramatic rightward shift in its religious freedom cases. While one group, even one as well connected and well-resourced as Faith and Action, cannot receive sole credit for this transformation, the religious freedom decisions of the 1960s – 1990s bear little resemblance to those of the current Roberts Court. Second, this distortion of one of our most basic freedoms has had a harmful effect on the civil rights and civil liberties of millions of Americans. Read the full statement.