Here Are the 3 Theories on Who the SCOTUS Draft Decision Leaker Is


The publication of a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning the monumental Roe v. Wade abortion decision has spurred political chaos.

The leaked document, published by Politico on Monday, is unprecedented in the modern history of the Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court is known for confidentiality, with justices as a rule loathe to voice political controversy or make the body’s internal deliberations public.

No hard evidence ascertaining the identity of the individual responsible for the leak was published in Politico’s report.

Three possibilities seem to be the most likely, judging from the leak’s timing, content, and circumstances.

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The motivations of a liberal law clerk or SCOTUS staffers to release the document would be readily apparent.

Even if the leaker faced disbarment or criminal charges, he or she would stand to reap the benefits of a book deal and progressive “heroism” (perhaps even a tenured professorship at a left-wing law school).

The leak is likely to set up Stalinist harassment and attacks on the court’s justices, who are accustomed to ruling independently of the political partisanship treasured by the left.

And yet, as some liberals argue, a conservative staffer who works for one of the court’s Republican-appointed justices could also have motives.

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The leak may have been primed to solidify votes to overturn Roe v. Wade.

With Chief Justice John Roberts potentially unwilling to support the full termination of the 1973 ruling that created and enshrined a legal right to abortion, the court’s conservative justices will have to decide it in a thin 5-4 majority.

Putting the justices on record now supporting the draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito could lock down their votes in an expected June ruling, preventing last-minute reassessments on a case of huge consequence.

And yet, it’s worth noting that the law clerks typically hired to work at the Supreme Court are known to be risk-averse and committed to legal processes to an extreme.

Even partisan ideologues gunning for a career in the political-legal establishment would have been hesitant to leak draft documents.

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The leak could even have been made possible through a compromise of Supreme Court computer systems, possibly by a foreign government. As some noted, one of the authors of the Politico piece was Alex Ward, a national security reporter. (The other author of the piece, Josh Gerstein, is Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter.)

A foreign adversary working to radicalize American progressives through a combination of extremist disinformation and aggressive partisanship could’ve been responsible.

This would effectively distract the public from key national issues with a culture war in defense of a legally flawed and antiquated court ruling.

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