July 7, 2022

After the Roe v. Wade leak, the public distrusted the law clerks, staff, and, most of all, the Supreme Court justices. This latest news isn't going to help to repair that damage.

According to Rolling Stone, a right-wing evangelical activist was caught on tape bragging that she prayed with Supreme Court justices. Making the matter even worse, the justices have been praying with the group that helped to overturn Roe.

In new hot mic audio obtained by the outlet, someone can be heard asking Peggy Nienaber, executive director of Liberty Counsel's D.C. ministry, "You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?"

She responded: "I do. They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them." Nienaber went on to indicate that these prayers took place inside the Supreme Court: "We actually go in there," she said.

Via Rolling Stone:

Louis Virelli is a law professor at Stetson University who wrote a book about Supreme Court recusals. He's blunt in his assessment: "Praying with a group that filed an amicus brief with a court," he says, "is a problem."

The group has been very busy.

The group established a strong foothold in both chambers of Congress and, eventually, the White House. But Faith and Action ultimately directed its energies toward the judicial branch.

It seems that this group has been around the Justices for a while now.

At first, the high court regarded Faith and Action and its peer organizations as nuisances, according to Schenck. "Justice Thomas would say to me, 'You know those groups outside? Are they crazy, or are they good people?'" Rob Schenck, who originally founded the group, told Rolling Stone.

When Schenck first began his approach in 1994, prayer activities on the Supreme Court's property was considered an act of demonstration, and therefore illegal. Eventually, Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas would embrace Schenck, he says, and pray with him in various corners of the high court's grounds — including, occasionally, in their chambers. (Chief Justice John Roberts, meanwhile, remained more guarded and skeptical of such groups' influence.)

This news is shocking, but when you consider the rightward shift the Supreme Court has taken, nothing is surprising anymore. They remind me of controversial Rep. Lauren Boebert, who recently said, "The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not meant to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it."

That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works.

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