Chief Justice John Roberts has responded to a leaked draft opinion indicating a majority of Supreme Court justices favor overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to decide the issue of abortion themselves.
In a brief statement, the nation’s highest court acknowledged that the draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was indeed authentic while also pointing out that the document is not the court’s final ruling on a case stemming from a Mississippi law banning the procedure after 15 weeks.
He also vented frustration at the leak of the draft which is unprecedented in modern times.
“Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” the court said.
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Roberts, in his own statement accompanying the court’s press release, announced that he has called upon the Marshal of the Court to investigate the situation and find the source who leaked the document to Politico. Roberts also spoke out against the notion that the leak could succeed as a political maneuver to influence the outcome of the case.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way,” Roberts said.
He also noted that such leaks are very rare.
“We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law,” he said.
“Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here,” he added.
Conservatives want the leaker to be found and disciplined. They are also calling for justices to receive additional protection from protesters angry by the ruling — which, again, is not yet final.
“If this story is true, the Court should issue its opinion right away,” tweeted former federal prosecutor and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy. “Otherwise the disgraceful leak wins. I would say that if my side lost. If we lose the integrity of the Court’s process, we lose the Court. That should be intolerable to all of us who live the country.”