— Washington Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the draft and final opinion by the court’s conservative majority, warned on Tuesday that the unprecedented leak of the draft ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade endangered the lives of the justices who voted to erode the constitutional right to an abortion.
During a question-and-answer session at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Alito stated, “The leak also made those of us who were believed to be in the majority in favor of overturning Roe and Casey targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to believe they could prevent that by killing one of us.”
Alito stated that there is justification for his claim that the lives of the justices were under jeopardy. In June, a California man armed with a firearm, a knife, and other implements was detained outside Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland and charged with attempted murder. Nicholas Roske, according to law authorities, was outraged over the release of the draft ruling indicating Roe would be overturned and the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Alito stated that the leak of the draft opinion to the news site Politico in May “changed the mood” of the Supreme Court for the remainder of its term, which concluded this summer.
“It was a major breach of confidence by someone, and it was shocking because nothing similar had ever occurred before,” he said.
Alito’s final majority opinion knocking down Roe in June closely resembled his draft, the revelation of which prompted protests outside the Supreme Court and at the residences of some justices. The Supreme Court police reported a “significant increase in violent threats,” including threats made on social media and directed at members of the court, according to a May intelligence bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to provide additional support to the marshal of the Supreme Court to ensure the safety of the justices in the face of public outrage.
Chief Justice John Roberts ordered the marshal of the court to investigate the leak, although it is unknown who provided the draft opinion to Politico.
Alito stated that he, his fellow justices, and the Supreme Court personnel desire to “get back to normal to the maximum extent feasible” in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s reversal and the COVID-19 outbreak, which locked the building’s public doors. Last month, the high court convened for its new term and invited the public back for oral arguments.
Alito also remarked that during his 16 years on the Supreme Court, the justices have always gotten along on a personal level, despite the fact that this is not always represented in their written opinions.
“In recent years, we have not been very constrained when expressing our passionate disagreements regarding the law. I’m probably as culpable as others in this regard “he replied. “However, none of this is personal, which is something I wish the public knew.”
During the extensive public interview, Alito also refuted claims that the Supreme Court’s decisions had departed from public feeling and become political, jeopardizing its legitimacy.
“Everyone is free to disagree with our decisions in this country. There is no doubt about that. Everyone is free to critique our argument in a forceful manner. Certainly, this occurs in the media, law professors’ papers, and social media “he said. “To assert that the court lacks integrity, however, is something very different. That demonstrates character.”
Alito noted that an individual “They cross a crucial threshold when they assert that the court is behaving in an illegal manner. I believe that a person in a position of power should not make this claim flippantly. This is not standard critique. That is something very apart.”
The justice also commented on suggestions to add seats to the Supreme Court, stating that the size of the court is established by Congress, despite the fact that nine is a “decent number.” However, Alito also posed a rhetorical inquiry intended to strike to the heart of claims against the court’s legitimacy.
“What would happen to the public’s perception of our independence and legitimacy if Congress were to change the size of the court and the public perceived that the reason for the change was to influence decisions in future cases that Congress anticipated the court making in the near future?” he asked.
Conflict Over Abortion