There’s a lot of bandwidth being expended on the (likely) Supreme Court decision that was leaked, ostensibly overturning Roe v. Wade. But it’s not the possible overturn that I find concerning – I agree with those who think Roe was a massive overstep of authority by the Court, but what I’m concerned with is the leak itself. Excerpt:
Almost to a person, from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on down, Republicans have condemned the unprecedented leak. Hawley clerked for Chief Justice Roberts and still remembers the lecture he received on Day One of his clerkship. Long story short, he told RCP, “You are ethically bound never to disclose the details about an opinion or a case.” Each of the clerks, usually a number between 27 and 36 per term, knows the rules. It is why the high court is considered leak-proof. It is also why when Hawley heard the news, he was left “in shock and disbelief.”
The Supreme Court operates in secrecy. One relatively recent and former clerk told RCP that discretion is necessary for justices to debate in good faith, often trading incomplete drafts of opinions between themselves and across the ideological spectrum. Take that away, the former clerk added, allow the court to leak like, say Congress, and “it is very dangerous both for how it functions but also for the justices’ individual personal safety.”
Hawley agreed on the immediate practical matter. He called on Congress to provide the justices with additional security if needed, and then he declared that his old boss was weathering “unprecedented pressure tactics,” an attack “on the integrity of the court.” Roberts condemned the leak in a statement, calling it “a betrayal of the confidences of the Court.” He directed the Marshal of the Court, security police answerable strictly to the judiciary, to immediately launch an investigation into the source of the leak. Hawley said his legacy hangs in the balance.
Note again the lead sentence in that second paragraph: The Supreme Court operates in secrecy. Whoever has violated that trust must be identified, charged, prosecuted, and punished. If possible under the law, I’d like to see the leaker barred for life from working in any legal or legal-aide position, anywhere.
What’s concerning about this isn’t necessarily the leak itself. It’s the (almost certain) reason behind the leak. Whoever leaked this, and I’d bet serious money on this, did it to try to intimidate the Court into changing this draft opinion. And that assessment of intent is supported by the uncanny speed with which pro-abortion protestors showed up at the Supreme Court building. So, not only a breach of security – not only a blatant attempt at intimidation of Supreme Court Justices – but likely a criminal conspiracy as well.
I’d ask where this all ends, but history is replete with examples as to how this kind of thing ends, and it never ends well.