‘Gravest, most unforgivable sin’: It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake caused by SCOTUS leak

Laurel Duggan, DCNF

Supreme Court experts decried the unprecedented leak of the Court’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, in which justices reportedly voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court voted to overturn the landmark decision after oral arguments in December, according to a draft opinion leaked to Politico, but the vote is not final. Legal experts said the leak would damage the trust and functioning of the Court and was likely politically motivated.

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley said the leak was likely part of a push to encourage liberal efforts to protect abortion rights through the Supreme Court or through the legislature.

“The most likely motivation is obviously to pressure the Court and push the legislation in Congress on a federal abortion law before the midterm elections. It will also likely renew the call for court packing,” Turley said. “This draft is from February and the majority can shift on such opinions. However, the act of leaking such a draft opinion ranks as an original sin for judicial ethics.”

Law professor Ilya Shapiro said the leak posed a risk to the basic functioning of the Court and, like Turley, believed the leak was likely motivated by left-wing goals.

“The leak is inexcusable and threatens the Court’s functioning,” Shapiro wrote. “The most plausible explanation is that it’s someone on the left engaged in civil disobedience—so yet again it’s those who bemoan the ‘loss of norms’ who break them. Cf. court-packing, attacking legitimacy, etc.”

“It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff, SCOTUSblog wrote on Twitter. “This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable sin.”

The Supreme Court was not expected to issue a decision in the case for another two months, Politico reported.

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