Since the unprecedented leak on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization the scrutiny of the Supreme Court has only intensified by those who wish to see it used for political leverage. The fallout from the leak and the subsequent ruling have been multi-faceted, but for Chief Justice John Roberts, one result was particularly “gut-wrenching.”
The month of May had barely begun when news broke that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that would lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade was leaked by an as yet unknown source from within the court spurring weeks of demonstrations including illegal protests outside the justices’ homes and at least one suspected assassination attempt.
The violent response from progressive activists undeterred and, in some cases, spurred on by Democrat politicians put lives at risk and resulted in new protective legislation and the erection of a security fence around the Supreme Court which Roberts opined on Friday while speaking in Colorado Springs, CO at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference as reported by Colorado Politics.
“It was gut-wrenching every morning to drive into a Supreme Court with barricades around it,” he said of the fencing that protesters frequently handcuffed themselves leading up to the 10th Amendment being reasserted via the overturn of Roe.
Jesse Watters blasts overblown Roe v Wade outrage: just ‘drive an hour across state lines to get abortion’ https://t.co/0695ZtWhMz pic.twitter.com/IxPAHx2nAu
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 22, 2022
While being interviewed by 10th Circuit Chief Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich and his incoming successor, Judge Jerome A. Holmes, Roberts decried efforts to politicize the Supreme Court stating, “If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” according to the Associated Press.
Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” an interview of Vice President Kamala Harris conducted by Chuck Todd will be aired where she expressed that is precisely the aim of Democrats.
As she put it in reaction to Dobbs, “I think this is an activist court. We had an established right for almost half a century which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be the privacy rights to which all people are entitled and this court took that constitutional right away. And we are suffering as a nation because of it.”
VP Harris openly questioning ‘integrity’ of ‘activist’ SCOTUS could hint at WH strategy for midterms https://t.co/CA6ba4OecR pic.twitter.com/KEowzCIPV0
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 10, 2022
Roberts fired back at such arguments Friday when he said, “The court has always decided controversial cases and decisions have always been subject to intense criticism, and that is entirely appropriate. But I don’t understand the connection between the opinions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”
“Simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court,” he added.
This opinion is especially of note considering a report from CNN that, ahead of the SCOTUS leak, Roberts had endeavored to flip the votes on overturning Roe by getting at least Justice Brett Kavanaugh to support leaving near 50-year-old ruling in place.
“Multiple sources told CNN that Roberts’ overtures this spring, particularly to Kavanaugh,” CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic detailed, “raised fears among conservatives and hope among liberals that the chief could change the outcome in the most closely watched case in decades. Once the draft was published by Politico, conservatives pressed their colleagues to try to hasten release of the final decision, lest anything suddenly threaten their majority.”
Chief Justice Roberts efforts to flip Kavanaugh and preserve Roe stymied by draft opinion leak: report https://t.co/0ZY8uihZeu
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) July 28, 2022
Though Democrats appear to be trying to rekindle the fervor surrounding the Dobbs ruling, the clear and present dangers posed earlier in the year have died down and at the end of August the “gut-wrenching” barricades were removed from outside the Supreme Court.
Before & after.https://t.co/Qck4aAceK4 pic.twitter.com/QAbDQR3DoL
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) August 29, 2022
Roberts expects that at the commencement of the next SCOTUS session in October the public will once again be allowed inside the storied halls, but he offered no further leads on the investigation into where the leak may have originated.
Meanwhile, Justice Neil Gorsuch, himself formerly of the 10th Circuit, addressed the conference on Thursday with optimism as an “internal committee to oversee the investigation” appointed by Roberts “has been busy and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope soon.”
Justice Gorsuch ‘looking forward’ to results of investigation into SCOTUS leaker https://t.co/MTqgBvWWXy pic.twitter.com/m3QcxF78FU
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 11, 2022
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