I’m calling my shot on this.
According to Joan Biskupic, who has an excellent source on the SCOTUS, in late April John Roberts was furiously lobbying his buddy Brett Kavanaugh to go for the “minimalist” death by a thousand distinctions route in regard to killing Roe v. Wade, rather than flat-out reversing it.
Then on Tuesday, April 26, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, which obviously also has excellent SCOTUS sources, published an editorial warning that Roberts was pressuring an unnamed justice to change his vote in the Dobbs case in order to fake-save Roe. You no doubt remember vividly the outcry at the time over this horrendous breach of the Sacred Confidentiality of the Inner Sanctum of the Court’s Deliberations. (Narrator voice: There was no outcry).
And now we learn via Biskupic’s reporting of a truly remarkable coincidence, which is that the Dobbs draft was leaked to Politico immediately after the WSJ editorial was published. How do we know this? She reports that “by the end of that April week” the justices discovered [snicker] that Politico had obtained the draft.
Of course the other justices would have discovered this within a day or two of the leak at most, because Politico, which had magically obtained this explosive scoop, must have immediately done whatever it could to confirm the draft’s authenticity, which would have meant contacting the SCOTUS in order to do that.
So the draft got leaked sometime after April 26, when the WSJ so propitiously published its editorial warning of Roberts’s arm-twisting, and before the end of that week, i.e., Saturday the 30th. Biskupic also reports that Politico’s publication of the draft on Monday May 2nd killed whatever hopes remained of Roberts being able to flip Kavanaugh.
I always thought the theory that a clerk of one of the liberal justice’s leaked the draft was absurd: I’m intimately familiar, via professional association, with the ethnography of SCOTUS clerks, and they’re not that kind of people. This generalization is even more unimpeachable in regard to the clerks for the right wing justices, who have gotten into those positions through strategic social gymnastics that would embarrass a courtier in the court of Louis XIV.
So yeah, no.
Alito himself leaked the draft, to lock in Kavanaugh. It’s unlikely it was necessary to do that (Kavanaugh’s vote was locked in as soon as he was totally falsely accused of sexual assault by those liberal women) but I’m betting Sammy the Papal Bull thought, “why take a chance?”
A nice touch is that he didn’t leak it to the WSJ, which had somehow found out that Roberts was putting on the full court press — probably because Alito had just told them — but rather he sent it to Politico. This in Alito’s mind counts as The Liberal Media, thus casting false aspersions on all those nefarious liberal clerks who would be presumed by the right wing scream machine to have handed over the goods in violation of their oaths of service, and as an added bonus also wouldn’t involve the psychic pain of delivering such a juicy scoop to such right wing hate objects as the New York Times and the Washington Post.
I realize there’s a lot of speculation in this post, but speculate on this: What exactly happened with John Roberts’s furious Stasi-like investigation into exactly who leaked the draft opinion? It seems like the whole thing just got dropped for some reason.
Could it be . . . Sammy?