Amid intense speculation about who released a draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito showing the court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congressional Republicans have decried the leak as an injustice and suggested it is a political attack from an outraged liberal white calling for the leaker to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, legal experts with knowledge of the Supreme Court procedure said the leak “could only, in all likelihood, have come from a conservative justice, or perhaps one of their clerks.”
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg said that the prevailing theory is that a conservative justice or a clerk released the decision in an attempt to lock in the five justices who voted to support overturning Roe as Chief Justice John Roberts may “persuade” his colleagues toward a more moderate position.
There has never been a leak like this. There have been minor little springs that have emerged from the court reports of a tentative vote or misbehavior by one Justice back in the 50s 60s 70s'” she said. “But never an entire draft of a majority opinion that has never ever occurred before.”
“And it can only in all likelihood, have come from a justice that I think is less likely, perhaps one of the clerks,” she said before adding: “The leading theory is a conservative clerk who was afraid that one of the Conservatives might be persuaded by Chief Justice Roberts, to join him much more moderate opinion.”
“And then there’s another theory that it was an outrage liberal clerk di it, but I think the only one that makes sense is that it came from somebody who was afraid that this majority might not hold,” she concluded.
Watch the discussion below:
“There has never been a leak like this.”
NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent @NinaTotenberg tells @MarthaRaddatz that the leak of a draft opinion on abortion rights has been viewed as an “earthquake” within the Supreme Court. https://t.co/0tPBMbpuUH pic.twitter.com/jcDgGRxRrL
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 8, 2022