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Justice Alito Says Leak of Early ‘Roe’ Draft Put Colleagues At Risk of ‘Assassination’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito made a startling claim this week about the leak of his draft opinion in May, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the country. During a speaking event at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, Alito said the leak put him and other court conservatives who signed onto the decision at risk of being assassinated.

“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,” he said, according to The Guardian.

He also used the forum to address criticisms of the court’s conservatives as ‘activists.’

“Everybody is free to criticize our reasoning, and in strong terms … But to say the court is exhibiting lack of integrity is something quite different,” he said.

“Someone also crosses an important line when they say that the court is acting in a way that is illegitimate. I don’t think that anybody in a position of authority should make that claim lightly,” he went on to say in what appeared to be a reference to leading Democrats, including President Joe Biden.

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In June, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was targeted for assassination last month following the leak. But months later, there is still no word on who is responsible for it.

Over the summer, reports surfaced that the Court was seeking access to the phone records of law clerks in an effort to learn how the opinion may have leaked out, Fox News reported.

In a recent interview with CNN anchor Chris Wallace, recently retired liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he has not been informed that the leaker has been identified.

“Within 24 hours the chief justice ordered an investigation of the leaker. Have they found him or her?” Wallace asked.

“Not to my knowledge, but … I’m not privy to it,” Breyer responds.

Wallace followed up by asking: “So in those months since, the chief justice never said, ‘Hey, we got our man or woman?’”

“To my knowledge, no,” again responded Breyer, who despite being retired maintains an office at the Supreme Court.

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Other justices have also spoken about the identity of the leaker and the court’s investigation.

Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed earlier this month that he hopes the investigation into the leak will soon be completed.

“The chief justice appointed an internal committee to oversee the investigation,” Gorsuch said. “That committee has been busy, and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope, soon.”

At the time, the nation’s highest court admitted that a “copy of a draft opinion in a pending case” was made public, but added that it did “not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

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One Republican lawmaker recently speculated that the Supreme Court’s liberal-leaning justices are likely aware of who the leaker is.

Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana said he believed that at least some of the justices know the leaker’s identity.

“We all could probably agree that the justices that were appointed by Democrat presidents know who the leaker was,” he said. “What bothers me, it’s not only the undermining that it did of the institution and the trust factor that these folks have with each other,” it’s that now that the trust is broken, “it’s very difficult to restore it.”

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Rosendale said he believes the person or persons who released the information will be revealed.

“There could be more people involved, and those people could go all the way to the top,” he said. “Don’t eliminate the judges because you know people, so there’s no way that would happen. No way. Think about it. Michael Sussmann is on trial right now for Russiagate. That happened six years ago. We’re only getting answers right now. I hope it doesn’t take another six years to get answers to what happened at the Supreme Court.”

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