Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday morning ordered the marshal of the court to investigate who leaked the draft opinion of an abortion case before the high 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,” Roberts said in a statement. “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”
On Monday night, Politico posted a story that Justice Sam Alito, a part of the high court’s conservative majority, had written a draft opinion – about a Mississippi abortion case before the high court – that would effective overturn the court’s decision in the landmark, 1973 Roe v. Wade case that said women have a constitutional right to an abortion.
Leaks in the highest court in the country are extremely rare. Roberts ordering a probe follows calls from lawmakers, activists and others, mostly conservatives, for such an investigation.
Critics of the leak have suggested it was an attempt by liberals to generate enthusiasm within its voter base in this year’s midterm elections.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” Robert also wrote. “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 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.”
Roberts, in the statement, also calls the document described in yesterday’s report “authentic.” However, he said, it “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any members on the issues in the case.”