Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday slammed the unknown person who leaked a draft of the conservative majority’s opinion striking down Roe v. Wade.
“A leak of this stature is absolutely appalling,” Roberts said during an appearance at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. “If the person behind it thinks that it will affect our work, that’s just foolish.”
The SCOTUS chief’s remarks echoed his scathing first response to the leak on Tuesday, when he declared that “to the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed.”
“The work of the Court will not be affected in any way,” he added.
Roberts also announced on Tuesday that he had ordered the Marshal of the Court to hunt down the leaker.
On Monday, Politico obtained an opinion draft written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that explicitly struck down Roe as part of its ruling on the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban case. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett had also signed onto Alito’s draft opinion, Politico reported.
It’s unclear where Roberts will ultimately land in the case. CNN reported on Monday that the chief justice did not want to dismantle Roe entirely.
The bombshell leak set off a firestorm on both sides of the political spectrum, with abortion advocates infuriated by the conservative majority flatly shooting down a landmark ruling, and conservatives deflecting from a clear victory for them by ginning up faux outrage over the leak instead.
Thomas is slated to speak at the same judicial conference in Atlanta on Friday, where he may be confronted with similar questions about Roe – and questions about his wife’s involvement in Trumpland’s efforts to steal the 2020 election.