Politico had released a story that has captured the attention of Americans on both sides of the political aisle. A leaked draft of an opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito regarding the a Mississippi abortion law case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Healthcare Center. The Court heard oral arguments regarding the case in January, and the draft, which Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed is “authentic,” but not necessarily the final opinion of the Court, was written in February.
Almost immediately after the draft was leaked, protestors gathered in cities across the nation, including in front of the Judicial building in Washington, DC. In Los Angeles, an initially peaceful protest turned violent when activists began throwing objects at police officers on Tuesday evening. One officer was injured as a result.
Now, Fox News is reporting that the addresses of the Justices has been published via the internet, and activist groups are planning to send protestors to their homes on May 11. In particular, protestors are planning to send groups to the homes of conservative Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas.
The organization publishing the addresses is called “Ruth Sent Us.” The group published the addresses of the conservative Justices and wrote the following: “Our 6 – 3 extremist Supreme Court routinely issues rulings that hurt women, racial minorities, LGBTQ and immigrant rights. We must rise up to force accountability using a diversity of tactics.”
As a result, a planned increase in police presence around the Justices and their families has already begun. Overnight in DC, a fence was erected around the Judicial building as well. The Washington, DC Police Department is in charge of placing the fence around the Supreme Court building. A protest response group is also setting on go when needed at least through the weekend.
In addition to confirming the draft opinion, Chief Justice Roberts has said the leak of the draft is a “betrayal.” The Justices have long been known to be great friends, regardless of their political beliefs. Many of them socialize outside of the Judicial building, and there is a trust between the Justices that is impeccable. However, with the leak, legal analysts say this could throw a wrench in the workings of the Court. Roberts has also called upon the Marshalls of the Court to investigate the source of the leak.
Senator Ted Cruz, who once clerked under Justice William Rehnquist from 1996 – 1997, told Fox News that only a handful of individuals could have had access to the information. While he alleges that it could be only “one of twelve people,” meaning one of the twelve budding attorneys clerking for the “liberal” justices of the Court, he also added that it could have been any of the thirty-six attorneys clerking in the Court. (NOTE: Each Justice typically has four clerks. The three liberal justices would have a total of four clerks, which is how Cruz derived the number twelve. However, he did not dismiss the possibility that a clerk for one of the conservative Justices could be the source of the leak.)
While Republicans on the Hill have condemned the leak, Democrats have greeted the event with mixed reactions. Some Democratic lawmakers have expressed dismay at the attack on one of the bedrock institutions of American government, while many have worked to shore up support for abortion rights. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) even joined protestors in front of the Judicial building, yelling until she became hoarse.
Democrats have called for a codification of Roe v Wade, even though the House passed a similar bill and sent it to the Senate earlier this year (most political pundits say that the bill doesn’t have the votes to pass). In light of a lack of majority votes, many Democrats are also calling for the end to the filibuster. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has already publicly said that he will not vote to remove the filibuster.