Chief Justice John Roberts wants the FBI to investigate the accurate leak to Politico

by Susan Ryant

While Monday evening’s Politico story was a bombshell, we’ve actually known for months that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. We knew that Roe would be overturned as soon as the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization commenced in early December 2021. It was clear from the Supreme Court justices’ questions that they found Dobbs the perfect anti-choice “test case” to dismantle reproductive rights and overturn Roe. The shocking part – I guess? – is that someone leaked the decision in May, when we were only supposed to find out in June, when the Dobbs decision is formally released by the Court at the end of their session. That leak to Politico has now (bizarrely) become the focus of Chief Justice Roberts and the entire Republican Party.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said Tuesday that the leaked draft opinion proposing to overturn Roe v. Wade is authentic but not final, and that he is opening an investigation into how it became public.

“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.”

While Roberts’s statement said the draft provided to Politico was genuine, “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

Politico’s report said that five justices had decided to uphold a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and overturn the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago.

Roberts’s news release was another extraordinary deviation from the court’s normal procedures, which generally entails paying no attention to outside influences. It was a sign that Roe v. Wade is too important, and the breach of Supreme Court operations too monumental, to ignore. It was not immediately clear whether the court intends to disclose publicly the results of its investigation.

Republican politicians in particular have called for an investigation into the leak, which some have seen as an attempt to put pressure on justices who may be inclined to strike down Roe instead to modify their decisions.

[From WaPo]

I think Chief Justice Roberts is mad on several levels, about several different things. One, he’s not included in the majority decision which was leaked to Politico. No one knows if he abstained or if he joined the “liberal justices.” Two, he’s mad because the leak actually is unprecedented, even if we usually have a good idea how the Court will vote given the oral arguments (which are public, released in real time). There’s never been a leak of an actual majority-opinion draft before, which suggests that it’s someone very close to one of the justices, or perhaps even one of the justices. It’s also clear that Republicans believe that it was leaked by one of the liberal justices or one of their clerks… although there are definitely some theories that it was leaked as a brag from some right-wing clerk. Three… Chief Justice Roberts is mad that he’s overseeing a Court which is distrusted, disrespected and dysfunctional.

In any case, Roberts is absolutely saying that Roe is being overturned but that they haven’t decided who writes the majority and minority opinions. They were all prepared to drop the Hobbs decision, overturn Roe and head off on their summer vacations in June. Now they have to deal with actual political blowback.

BREAKING: Chief Justice John Roberts has directed the marshal of the Supreme Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which Roberts verified as an authentic document pic.twitter.com/vcq4lTY7bk

— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) May 3, 2022

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