U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said he has a “pretty good idea” who leaked the court’s draft opinion on a ruling that would overturn Roe V. Wade, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal. While Alito did indicate that he knows who was responsible, he added that is “different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody.”
The leak — which was published by Politico on May 2, 2022 — ultimately led to months-long protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices. In one instance, an armed man was arrested after telling law enforcement that he had travelled to Virginia to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
On Friday, Alito told the Wall Street Journal that the goal of the leak was to prevent the ruling and intimidate the court. “”It was a part of an effort to prevent the…from becoming the decision of the court. And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by people on the outside—as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court.” Alito said.
The longtime conservative justice went on to strongly reject the notion that the opinion was leaked by a conservative judge, calling it “infuriating.”
“Look, this made us targets of assassination,” Alito went on to say. “Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done that to ourselves? It’s quite implausible.”
“Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” Justice Alito said. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”
Justice Alito just told the Wall Street Journal that "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." …https://t.co/wnvayDeQtK
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) April 28, 2023
Chief Justice John Roberts directed the marshal of the Supreme Court to thoroughly investigate the leak last year. In January, the marshal submitted her findings and ultimately conceded that a definitive suspect has not yet been identified. “Investigators have been unable to determine at this time, using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the identity of the person(s) who disclosed the draft majority opinion,” wrote the marshal in a report.
Alito praised the marshal’s work on the probe, saying that she “did a good job with the resources that were available to her.”
“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 went on to say.
According to Alito, the leak “created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. We worked through it, and last year we got our work done. This year, I think, we’re trying to get back to normal operations as much as we can. . . . But it was damaging.”