The full Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives heard testimony from four witnesses in its investigation of whether the Supreme Court needs a set of ethics rules, including from CCL client Rev. Robert Schenck. The hearing took its name from Rev. Schenck's earlier activities, now disavowed, and revealed in a New York Times story. It was called, "Undue Influence: Operation Higher Court and Politicking at SCOTUS."

      The Supreme Court is not subject to the same ethical rules as other federal judges, though it has said that it consults the rules applicable to other federal judges. A New York Times story about how Rev. Schenck and his former organization's supporters ingratiated themselves to some of the justices through large donations to the Supreme Court Historical Society and how they received advanced word of the result and authorship of the Hobby Lobby case triggered the December 8 hearing. CCL's Peck accompanied Rev. Schenck to the hearing to provide legal advice during questioning from the committee members.

       In addition to Rev. Schenck, who provided a factual account of his prior organization's activities, the Committee heard testimony from:

  • Caroline Fredrickson, a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School and a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, who spoke about the need for ethics rules and the ways it could be accomplished;
  • Mark R. Paoletta, a partner at Schaerr Jaffe LLP, who made a partisan attack on the hearing and on Democratic appointees to the Court; and,
  • Donald K. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who spoke about the need for ethical rules regardless of party of appointment or ideology.