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 April 30, 2023

Justice Alito says Dobbs leaker made the justices 'targets of assassination'

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says that the leaker of the court's draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization made both himself and other members of the court "targets of assassination."

Alito spoke about the Dobbs leak in a rare interview that he recently did with the Wall Street Journal. 

Dobbs is the case in which the justices of the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case, returning the issue of whether abortion ought to be legal back to the people and their state legislators. Alito wrote the majority opinion in Dobbs. 

The draft of the court's Dobbs decision was leaked several months before the actual decision was released. And, pro-abortion activists targeted the justices who supported overturning Roe. Most notably, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was the target of at least one assassination attempt.

The Supreme Court has conducted its own investigation into the leak, but that investigation has failed to discover the identity of the leaker. Many are skeptical of this official narrative and believe that the court may just be protecting the identity of the leaker in order to prevent further instability.

Alito, for his part, told the Journal that, while he agrees with the outcome of the court's investigation, he thinks he knows who the leaker is.

"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 said.

Alito noted that the leak "was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft . . . from becoming the decision of the court," adding, "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."

Alito also revealed that the leak "created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust" in the Supreme Court.

Alito went on to talk about how the leak made the justices who voted to overturn Roe "targets of assassination."

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

With this in mind, Alito said that it is "infuriating" that some have tried to claim that a conservative was behind the leak.

"Look, this made us targets of assassination," Alito said. "Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done that to ourselves? It’s quite implausible."

Overall, Alito called the leak "damaging." But, he expressed hope that the court can return to normal this session.

Written By:
Oliver Winters

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