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Alito Says Dobbs Leaker Wasn’t a Conservative, But Won’t Name Names



Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said in an interview earlier this month that he had a “pretty good idea” that leaked his draft Supreme Court opinion that overturned Roe vs. Wade and his constitutional right to an abortion last year, but neither he nor the court can prove it.

The leak rocked the Supreme Court and its tradition of secrecy involving unpublished opinions. After a months-long investigation, Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley said in January the court could not determine with certainty “the identity of anyone who may have leaked the document or how the draft notice turned out.” is found with Politico”.

The news site published Alito’s draft notice almost exactly a year ago.

Supreme Court says it can’t determine who leaked draft notice

In an April 13 interview with a Wall Street Journal editor and a private lawyer active in conservative causes, Alito agreed that Curley did not have sufficient evidence to publicly accuse anyone of leaking his draft opinion. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“I personally have a pretty good idea of ​​who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of evidence needed to name someone,” Alito said, according to the article posted online Friday. He said he was sure the leak “is part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs project … to become the decision of the court. And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by outsiders – as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court.

Alito said the theory that the project was leaked by someone on the right to lock in the five votes needed to cancel deer “is infuriating to me.

“Look, that made us targets for assassination,” Alito told his interviewers. “Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done this to each other? It is completely implausible.

Alito made similar statements last fall at an event at the conservative Heritage Foundation. In the interview with the Journal, Alito noted that last June a gunman was arrested outside the home of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. The man has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charges and is awaiting trial.

Alito says leaker made Supreme Court majority targets

“It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision by Dobbs by killing one of us,” Alito told James Taranto, the Journal’s editorial editor, and David B. Rivkin Jr., an attorney active in conservative causes. Rivkin writes frequently for the Journal’s opinion pages, and helped lead the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats have called for enshrining Roe v. Wade as law on May 3 in response to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion proposing to overturn the landmark abortion case. (Video: Blair Guild/The Washington Post)

Alito added that he did not feel “physically in danger, because now we have a lot of protection”. He said he’s being driven “basically in a tank, and I’m not really supposed to go anywhere alone without the tank and my police force members”.

Alito declined to answer questions about Judge Clarence Thomas, investigators wrote. Thomas has come under fire after ProPublica reported he accepted extravagant vacations, private jet trips and gifts from billionaire friend and Republican donor Harlan Crow, who also bought Justice’s childhood home in which his mother continues to live. Thomas did not report the expenses on his disclosure forms, which are supposed to provide transparency about potential ethical conflicts.

Without commenting on Thomas, Alito said he believed reports of alleged ethics violations by judges were attempts to damage the court’s credibility now that conservatives are firmly in charge. “We are hammered daily, and I think quite unfairly in many cases. And no one, hardly anyone, is standing up for us,” he said.

“And then those who attack us say, ‘Look how unpopular they are. Look how much their approval rating has dropped. “, Said Alito. “Well, yes, what do you expect when you are – day after day, ‘They are illegitimate. They engage in all kinds of unethical conduct. They do this, they do that’?

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday showed that 37% of Americans have “a lot” or “somewhat” confidence in the Supreme Court, up from 59% who said they had confidence in the court in 2018.

Alito said the public should question the court’s legitimacy “if they see that what we are doing is inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws.”

But he defended the court’s desire to overturn legal precedents, saying some cases, like deer and the court’s follow-up decision in Family planning c. Casey“are so obviously wrong, so clearly wrong, that it is a very important factor in nullifying them.”

Here’s how conservative justices answered questions about Roe v. Wade during their Senate confirmation hearings. (Video: Casey Silvestri, JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

Alito’s critics accuse him of withholding such views during his confirmation hearings nearly 30 years ago.

Roe vs. Wade is an important Supreme Court precedent. It was decided in 1973, so it’s been on the books for a long time,” he said during his Senate hearings. “It is a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades. It has been challenged. It is reaffirmed.”

When pressed at the time, Alito said it was clear there would be challenges to the law and that a judge would be wrong to say, “I’m not even going to listen to you. I have made my decision on this matter.

Yet when he wrote the decision quashing deer Last spring, some critics claimed his testimony was misleading.


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