Republicans have blamed the left for leaking a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, but a New Yorker columnist says the evidence points toward an abortion opponent on the right.
Jonathan Chait appeared Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss his latest column, which theorizes that someone who wants the 5-4 decision banning abortion to stand, based on another leak a few days prior to Politico's bombshell report on Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion.
"I want to be clear that I have no idea who leaked this and it definitely could have come from the left," Chait said, "but I wrote this because so much of the commentary from the right simply assumed that the leaks that come from the left and ignored the fact that we have a smaller leak three days before from the Wall Street Journal that had the same effect they're decrying, which is to put public pressure on the justices to rule in a certain way. That is the reason why they say this leak is so dangerous, because it subjects the justices to this kind of lobbying and that is exactly why the Wall Street Journal was leaked this early version, and they really had the inside scoop on the breakdown inside of the court."
An editorial published April 26 showed that Chief Justice John Roberts was trying to persuade one of the court's conservatives to join him in a more moderate ruling on a Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, in stepping back from overturning the landmark abortion ruling -- and Chait notes how closely the Journal called it.
"If [Roberts] pulls another Justice to his side, he could write the plurality opinion that controls in a 6-3 decision," the editorial said. "If he can't, then Justice Thomas would assign the opinion and the vote could be 5-4. Our guess is that Justice Alito would then get the assignment."
That's exactly what did happen, based on the draft opinion that Roberts confirmed was legitimate, and Chait said the editorial points to the likelihood that someone on the right leaked the opinion to keep another justice from joining Roberts in moderating the ruling.
"If a bank employee stole a small amount of money from the safe and then, a few days later, there was a huge robbery from the same safe, who would be your first suspect?" he wrote.
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