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Justice Alito has ‘good idea’ who was behind Roe v. Wade leak, believes motive was assassination

Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. poses during a group photograph at the Supreme Court building on June 1, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 29, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said he has a “pretty good idea who is responsible” for the leak revealing the court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, which he also said made justices in the majority “targets for assassination.”

“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 told The Wall Street Journal. “It was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft . . . 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.”

“Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” he added. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”

The marshal of the Supreme Court investigated the leak after being directed to do so by Chief Justice John Roberts, but investigators were “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.”

Alito said the marshal “did a good job with the resources that were available to her,” but that it was “infuriating” hearing left-wing speculation that the leaker was conservative.

“Look, this made us targets of assassination. Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done that to ourselves? It’s quite implausible. I don’t feel physically unsafe, because we now have a lot of protection,” he said, adding that he is “driven around in basically a tank, and I’m not really supposed to go anyplace by myself without the tank and my members of the police force.”

In June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 vote which held that abortion is not a constitutional right. Twenty-six states previously petitioned the court to overrule the abortion precedent.

Alito’s majority opinion stated that the “Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”

“Roe and Casey arrogated that authority,” Alito wrote. “We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”