Chief Justice Roberts opens investigation into leak of draft


Joe Ravi

The Supreme Court building at dusk.(Wikimedia Commons)

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

In a public statement released by the Office of Public Information of the United Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion revealed last night by Politico. The chief justice has ordered an investigation into the leak.

The Statement from the Supreme Court

Yesterday, a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. 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.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., provided the following statement:

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.

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. 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.

I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.

Leaked draft shows Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade

According to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico on Monday, it appears a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has voted to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that established the right to abortion nearly 50 years ago,

In the Politico report, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the draft which was circulated among the Justices in February. Politico says that Alito was joined by justices Clarence Thomas and all three of former President Donald Trump’s nominees – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.  Justices Stephen Breyer, Elana Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor were working on dissents. It was unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts voted.

The landmark 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, ruled that women had a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in consultation with their physician. Through the years since Roe, successive majorities on the Supreme Court have struck down all previous attempts to modify the finding that women have a constitutionally protected right to an abortion at any stage in pregnancy.

“The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes in the draft. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”