Alito Says Abortion Draft Leak Jeopardized Lives Of Anti-Roe Justices

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Tuesday said the leak of his draft opinion previewing the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade endangered the lives of justices who sided with revoking the constitutional right to abortion.

In May, Politico published the bombshell draft opinion, revealing the court’s conservative supermajority intended to reverse Roe. Alito said the publication made justices who appeared to support the elimination of abortion rights “targets for assassination.”

“It gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us,” Alito said.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito in the majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization when the court officially released it in June. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a concurring opinion. Liberal justices Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Following the leak of the draft, protesters flocked the homes of conservative justices. A California man who threatened Kavanaugh was arrested outside the justice’s home with a knife and another weapon.

Alito said the leak was unprecedented and affected the atmosphere within the court.

“It was a great betrayal of trust by somebody, and it was a shock, because nothing like that had happened in the past,” Alito said, according to NBC News.

But Alito said the justices are now trying to move on and “want things to get back to normal, the way they were before all of this last term, before COVID.”

The October term is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first after she was confirmed to replace Breyer.

Other justices have also been outspoken on the draft opinion’s leak.

Thomas likened it to a “kind of infidelity” that corrodes trust. Roberts called it “absolutely appalling” and said he hoped “one bad apple” would not change “people’s perception” of the court. Gorsuch called the leak “a threat to the judicial decision-making process.”

Alito used a keynote speech in Rome in July to defend the abortion decision and to mock world leaders who criticized it.

“I had the honor this term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law,” he said.

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