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Justice Alito says he has a pretty good idea who the Supreme Court leaker is

By Savannah Hamilton
|
April 30, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito dropped a major bombshell during a rare interview with the Wall Street Journal. He claims he has a “pretty good idea” about who leaked the court’s draft decision of the Dobbs case — the ruling responsible for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Alito is one of six conservative judges within the Supreme Court and is considered the main author of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization draft. The case aimed to overturn the landmark court case which has long protected abortion rights in the U.S.

The leak occurred last May to the newspaper Politico, around seven weeks before the official decision was published, which ended in a 5-4 ruling in favor of Dobbs. 

Dobbs’s win in the Supreme Court led to several states changing their abortion laws, many of which made abortions far more restrictive.

“I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” Alito said, adding that he doesn’t believe it was one of the conservative members.

Personal Vendetta?

Alito claimed the situation “created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust” and “made us [conservative judges] targets of assassination.

He suggested that someone in the court has a malicious agenda, pointing out that following the leak, all conservative judges’ lives were suddenly in danger. Of the various threats and attacks, one included a plot to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

The leak resulted in Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting “24-7 protection” for the justices. Garland also reiterated that any threats against Supreme Court justices will be taken “extraordinarily seriously.”

Alito said that following the heightened level of security, he was “driven around in basically a tank, and … not really supposed to go anyplace by [himself] without the tank and [his] members of the police force.”

Although some have previously speculated that the leak came from the conservative side, Alito argues otherwise. 

Alito himself was previously accused of the leak since the draft included not only the opinion of the court but the signatures of the judges that approved it. It was speculated that this was Alito’s strategy to secure the votes since the members would be unlikely to change their minds without public scrutiny.

“Look, this made us targets of assassination. Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done that to ourselves? It's quite implausible,” he said.

He later added, “It was rational for people to believe they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”

He also referenced previous attacks on conservative judges, such as the smear campaign against Kavanaugh back in 2018, suggesting that the Right has long been a target.

It’s a Serious Matter

Not the Bee writer Joel Abbott pointed out that Supreme Court justices tend to stay out of the public spotlight in order to remain “impartial and blind,” the fact that Alito decided to speak out this way is “not a small thing.”

Some suggest that Alito’s goal was less to punish the source of the leak and more to bring attention to the chaos going on in the modern-day justice system.

Alito has not made any promise to reveal the name of the suspect.