It has been almost a week since the Big Leak — the public release of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States that included the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Even before SCOTUS confirmed that the draft was authentic, conservatives were trying to turn the attention away from the content, and make the public focus on who the leaker might be. Now one prevailing opinion is that it was one of their own.
While conservatives have tried to force journalists to focus on the leak and seeking someone to blame, the most important story has been, all along, the stripping of rights and the removal of bodily autonomy from pregnant people — something that must be addressed at every level, from public protest, to state and federal legislation to protect reproductive freedom and overall protection of access to healthcare.
That’s the most important thing — but it isn’t the only thing, and when it comes to the leaker, the motivation and the outcome of the leak are relevant considerations.
Appearing on ABC‘s This Week, NPR Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg explained why one theory that makes the most sense to many people is that it was a right-wing clerk, not hoping to change the position of a Justice, but to cement it.
“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
“The leading theory is a conservative clerk who was afraid that one of the conservatives might be persuaded by Chief Justice Roberts to join a much more moderate opinion, and then there’s another theory that it was an outraged liberal clerk, but I think the only one that makes sense is that it came from somebody who was afraid that this majority might not hold.”
Of course, to join a more moderate opinion after the leak could be seen as bowing to public pressure — something a law clerk would likely know that a Justice would want to avoid.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com