Supreme Court Justice John Roberts tried to persuade his fellow conservative justices against fully dismantling Roe v. Wade, but the infamous opinion leak in May thwarted his already long-shot efforts, CNN reported on Tuesday.
Roberts reportedly aimed his persuasion efforts at Justice Brett Kavanaugh — whom the chief justice has known since the early ’90s when they both worked in the George H.W. Bush administration — in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that ultimately led to Roe‘s demise.
Roberts also reportedly tried to sway Justice Amy Coney Barrett to a lesser degree.
But then Politico published a draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs case on May 2, publicly revealing that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority had voted to strike down Roe.
The stunning and unprecedented leak crushed the slim odds of Roberts being able to convince his conservative colleagues to salvage abortion rights, and likely ensured that the justices would stick to their votes, according to CNN.
In fact, the leak spurred conservatives to push for a quicker release of the decision to avoid more disruptions, CNN reported.
CNN noted that anti-abortion and conservative activists had anticipated Roberts’ lobbying efforts and feared he could successfully convince Kavanaugh or Barrett to switch sides.
Though Roberts has opened an investigation into the matter, the source of the leak is still unknown.
It should be noted that Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush, did not seek to fully preserve Roe: CNN revealed in a previous report that Roberts still wanted to partially dismantle the landmark ruling, just not kill it entirely.