Politico’s extraordinary leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade is now being shown to have endangered the lives of the justices who backed overturning the decision, and the news organization that released the document appears oblivious to the harm they inflicted.
On Tuesday, SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito, the original author of the leaked draft and final judgment by the court’s conservative majority, stated that the leak caused several issues.
Alito said during a question-and-answer session at The Heritage Foundation, “The leak also made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.”
Alito stated that there is justification for his claim that the lives of the justices were under jeopardy. In June, a California man armed with a firearm, a knife, and other implements was arrested and charged with attempted murder outside the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Nicholas Roske, according to law authorities, was outraged over the release of the draft ruling indicating Roe might be overturned and the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Alito stated that the leak of the draft ruling to the news site Politico in May “changed the atmosphere” of the Supreme Court for the remainder of its term, which concluded this summer.
“It was a grave betrayal of trust by somebody and it was a shock because nothing like this had happened in the past,” he said.
“Alito’s final majority opinion striking down Roe in June closely mirrored his draft, the release of which sparked protests outside the Supreme Court and some of the justices’ homes. The Supreme Court police reported a “significant increase in violent threats,” including threats made on social media and directed at members of the court, according to a May intelligence bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security, and Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the U.S. Marshals Service to provide additional support to the marshal of the Supreme Court to ensure the safety of the justices amid the public backlash,” CBS News reported, adding:
“Chief Justice John Roberts directed the marshal of the court to investigate the leak, though it’s unclear whether the identity of the person who provided the draft opinion to Politico is known.”
“Everybody in this country is free to disagree with our decisions. There’s no question about that. Everybody is free to criticize our reasoning, and in strong terms. And that certainly is done in the media and in writings of law professors and on social media,” he said. “But to say that the court is exhibiting a lack of integrity is something quite different. That goes to character.”
Alito added that a person “crosses an important line when they say that the court is acting in a way that is illegitimate. I don’t think anybody in a position of authority should make that claim lightly. That’s not just ordinary criticism. That is something very different.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
The justice also weighed in on proposals to add seats to the Supreme Court, saying the size is determined by Congress, though nine is a “good number.” But Alito also raised a rhetorical question that aimed to cut to claims about the court’s legitimacy. CONTINUE READING…