Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said that the leak of the draft ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade is “absolutely appalling” during a public appearance on Thursday.
Roberts told a group of lawyers and judges at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference that he doesn’t want the “one bad apple” leaker who released the draft opinion to media outlets to change the “people’s perception” of the Supreme Court. He also described the individual who leaked the draft as “foolish” if they believe it was going to affect the final decision rendered by the court, CNN reported.
The comments Thursday are the first since the Supreme Court confirmed that the leaked draft is authentic, while it also included a statement from Roberts saying he would authorize an investigation into the matter.
“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,” Roberts said in a statement. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
The draft was leaked first to Politico, which included what appeared to be a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that argued a woman has a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. It was handed down in connection to a lawsuit submitted by the state of Mississippi in its fight to keep a law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote, adding the decision was “egregiously wrong from the start” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning.
In his later statement, Roberts asserted that the draft doesn’t represent the high court’s final decision or the final opinion of any of the nine justices.
Republicans called for the person who leaked the draft to be punished, while Democrats focused on mobilizing their supporters to vote for pro-abortion politicians in the 2022 midterm elections. Protests also broke out in Washington, Los Angeles, and New York City. In Los Angeles, pro-abortion rioters threw objects at police and smashed windows near a federal courthouse, leading to several injuries on Tuesday evening.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, it would mean that certain states would then move to pass laws or issue rules to legalize abortion. Some Democrat governors, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, said this week that would take immediate action after the Supreme Court issues its final ruling.