Roberts Launches Investigation Into SCOTUS Leaker

Chief justice confirms draft opinion is authentic but says it is not a final ruling
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2022 11:41 AM CDT
Roberts: Yes, It's Legit. No, It's Not Final
A file photo of Chief Justice John Roberts.   (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

Who's the leaker? The Supreme Court is launching an investigation to figure that out after Monday's bombshell disclosure regarding a monumental abortion decision. "This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court," said Chief Justice John Roberts in a statement Tuesday. It comes after Politico obtained a draft opinion suggesting the court will overturn Roe v. Wade when the decision is formally released in a matter of weeks. Roberts confirmed the draft opinion is authentic, but he added that "it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," reports the AP.

  • Roberts: “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” Roberts said. “The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.”

  • One theory: Was it one of the justices? One of the clerks? Speculation has been swirling since the story emerged. At the Washington Post, columnist Ruth Marcus thinks the most likely scenario is "that the leak came from the conservative side, possibly from a clerk for a conservative justice concerned that the seeming majority, ready to do away with the constitutional right to abortion, might be unraveling."
  • Or maybe: Another common theory is that an angry liberal clerk is behind the breach. Brian Fallon of the progressive Demand Justice, for example: "Is a brave clerk taking this (unprecedented) step of leaking a draft opinion to warn the country what's coming in a last-ditch Hail Mary attempt to see if the public response might cause the Court to reconsider?" he tweeted.
  • McConnell: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a criminal prosecution by the Justice Department, reports the Hill. "Somebody, likely somebody inside the court itself, leaked a confidential internal draft to the press, almost certainly in an effort to stir up an inappropriate pressure campaign," McConnell said on the Senate floor, suggesting the left was behind the leak. “This lawless action should be investigated and punished to the fullest extent possible, the fullest extent possible."
(More US Supreme Court stories.)

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