The Old Testament Book of Esther tells of a Hebrew woman named Hadassah becoming queen of Persia and preventing a genocide of her people.

Schenck said the goal was to make conservative justices more transparent in their views.

During the time when the Supreme Court wrestled with social issues such as abortion and gay rights, some justices interacted with advocates for the religious right. Faith and Action calculated how they could use social activities and expensive dinners to get into the court.

The Supreme Court did not get a response from Thomas and Alito. The family of Scalia did not respond to attempts to contact them.

Faith and Liberty is a part of Liberty Counsel and is now known as Faith and Liberty. The vice president of the company was quoted as praying with Supreme Court justices in a recording that was posted on the internet. Schenck told the magazine that he started the prayer sessions to build relationships with conservative justices.

Mat Staver doesn't know much about what Rob Schenck has done in the past. I don't recall anything like that happening when he invited couples to wine and dine.

The major funders of Schenck's group were the Wrights, who established an office behind the Supreme Court building. Don Wright became wealthy through his furniture business and real estate firm.

Don Wright speaks.

Don Wright became wealthy through his furniture business and real estate firm, owning homes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Siesta Key, Florida. | Courtesy of City of Centerville, Ohio

Schenck said that the Wrights funded many expensive dinners with Thomas, Alito, Scalia and their wives at Washington, D.C., including the Capital Grille. The death of Don Wright took place in 2020.

A phone message was left at her home, but she didn't reply. There was no reply to the request for comment made Friday to the family business.

His work with Faith and Liberty and his support for the Supreme Court Historical Society were cited in his obituary. There were pictures of the Wrights and their family with Scalia and Alito as well as Don Wright with Chief Justice John Roberts.

Antonin Scalia was fond of hunting and fishing. He was always the same regardless of where he was or what he was doing.

According to The Dayton Business Journal, Wright became friends with several justices, including Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia. Scalia was often with the family on hunting trips.

According to the Supreme Court Historical Society, Wright was a major donor and was elected as a Trustee for three years.

Schenck said he met the Wrights at Faith Baptist Church in Florida, where he was a guest pastor, and they stayed at their vacation home.

He said the Wrights were dedicated to reinforcing the Supreme Court justices' conservative views on the issues. They were the most active of the 20 couples in the program.

Schenck said that all the couples knew they were being coached and that they offered feedback on their dinner with the justices and their wives.

The Wrights were the most involved. Schenck said that they set the standards. The most engaged were the ones who were most active.

One instance of Schenck coaching couples on how to behave around Supreme Court justices was related to the historical society banquet, according to Staver.

He talked to the couples at the banquet about protocol. He did that once. He would talk to them about how they are Supreme Court justices and then he would tell them not to discuss issues or cases. He tried to get people to contribute. Afterwards, he would ask them how they enjoyed it. He's talking about coaching. He was not suggesting that they say this to them.

Schenck claimed that Scalia was a guest at the Wrights' home in Jackson Hole. The Wyoming State Bar paid for Scalia's transportation, food and lodging for a June 2006 visit to Jackson Hole, according to his financial disclosure report. He spoke to the Wyoming State Bar in September 2008 and to the Federalist Society in October 2012 with the help of those groups.

Property records show the Wrights sold their home.

The justices are the leaders of a separate branch of the government. They don't have to follow the same rules as other federal judges when it comes to conflicts of interest. The ethics in government act requires the justices to report gifts worth more than $415 in aggregate, but they rarely report meals received at private homes or businesses. Each year the justices report on travel, lodging and meals received for speaking engagements.

A review of more than a decade of financial disclosures from Thomas, Alito and Scalia found no reporting of restaurant or other meals as gifts, aside from food being included along with transportation and lodging expenses.

A 2001 article in a Christian magazine described the group's "Operation Higher Court" as offering "prayer and ministry to the Supreme Court justices."

Schenck said that the Supreme Court is the most isolated branch of the US government. We had to pray our way in each step of the way because they don't interface with the public.

Schenck describes meeting and praying with Scalia just 24 hours after the court handed down its controversial decision.

The documentary "The Armor of Light" and the book "Costly Grace" detail Schenck's decision to break with the religious right.

The institute is named for a German theologian who opposed the Nazis.

She contributed to the report.