Supreme Court Justice Alito Says He Has ‘Pretty Good Idea’ Who Leaker Is

Associate Justice Samuel Alito (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)
May 1, 2023

WASHINGTON (Reuters)—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito believes the leak last May of a draft opinion that ended the nationwide right to abortion was meant to "intimidate" the court into changing its decision, the conservative justice told the Wall Street Journal.

"It was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft ... from becoming the decision of the court," Alito said in an interview published by the newspaper on Friday, referring to the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. "And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by people on the outside — as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court."

The comments by the justice, part of the court's 6-3 conservative majority, come after the court in January said its eight-month investigation had failed to identify the party responsible for disclosing a draft that would foreshadow the court's decision in June eliminating the right to legalized abortion nationwide.

Alito, who wrote the Dobbs decision, said that he thought he knew who leaked the decision to the Politico news outlet, but did not provide evidence to support that claim.

"I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that's different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody," he said.

A narrow majority of Americans - 56% - view the U.S. Supreme Court unfavorably, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month. Partisanship colors that view, with 72% of Democratic respondents to the poll viewing the court unfavorably and 65% of Republicans seeing it favorably.

(Reporting by John Kruzel; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)