Attorney From Larry Nassar Case Explains Why The SCOTUS Leak Is 'Absolutely Terrifying' - Exclusive

While countries like Mexico and Spain – countries with strong ties to the Catholic Church — take steps to legalize and protect abortion, the United States has been moving in the opposite direction.

On May 2, Politico received a draft opinion from someone inside the Supreme Court of the United States. The draft, Politico reports, was written by Justice Samuel Alito and is a "full-throated, unflinching repudiation" of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which protect abortion rights on a federal, constitutional level. Alito believes "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start" and that "Roe and Casey must be overruled," according to the leaked opinion.

The last Supreme Court justice to use the phrase, "Egregiously wrong," was Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a 2020 opinion about jury convictions, per Politico. The cases he felt the Supreme Court had gotten wrong in the post were the 1944 decision to uphold Korematsu v. United States — which dealt with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II — and Plessy v. Ferguson, the landmark 1896 decision that federally protected segregation.

The Supreme Court has been deliberating abortion rights since December 2021 when they heard Mississippi's argument about why they should be able to ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation, The Guardian reports. At the time, it was believed that if the court ruled in favor of Mississippi, it would weaken if not overturn Roe v. Wade and greatly endanger bodily autonomy for pregnant persons in conservative states. Many of these states even have "trigger laws" that will immediately go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned, per The Guardian.

There has never been a SCOTUS leak before

Reactions to the leak have been mixed. Some side with the Supreme Court and worry about what this leak will mean for the trustability of the institution going forward. But others believe the leaker is a hero. According to the Daily Beast, Politico even sent out a memo to staff that "outlined additional security precautions now in place," which Politico says is a proactive response to the reactions.

Nothing like this has happened before, so no one is sure what the lasting effects will be on the Supreme Court. This is partially because no one knows the motivations of the leaker — if it was to "undermine the integrity" of the Supreme Court, like the Daily Beast says their statement suggests, or if it's something else completely.

"A leak like this has never happened before to my knowledge," Attorney Jamie White told The List exclusively. "My sense is that it was orchestrated or politically motivated." Abortion is a topic White is passionate about — he has spent much of his career representing victims of rape, including minors that USA Gymnastics' Dr. Larry Nassar assaulted.

White's assessment of motive combined with Politco's proactive security measures prove that, once again, Americans are living through an unprecedented time. Only this go-around, we're waiting to see if the most powerful court in the land decides if pregnant people get to keep their right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

What this SCOTUS leak means, according to legal experts

The leak, whether it was meant to help or hurt the Supreme Court, is a sign that the United States is in more trouble than anyone thought.

Peter G. Verniero, a former justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, told The New York Times that before now, "a leak like this would have been unthinkable" and that it "reflects another sad step toward casting the court as a political body, which, whatever your preferred jurisprudence, is most unhealthy for the rule of law."

Verniers isn't the only one who believes this leak is a sign America's laws and lawmakers are moving in the wrong direction. Attorney Jamie White exclusively told The List, "This decision is a declaration that the Supreme Court is now an unabashed political body. The only guardrails we've had in these times has been the higher courts, and they were destroyed today, it's extremely concerning." White added, "To have something connected to an issue this sensitive come out in the way it did is absolutely terrifying."

White has a point: leaking the draft isn't illegal. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger wrote in his dissent about the Pentagon papers: "[N]o statute gives this court express power to establish and enforce the utmost security measures for the secret of our deliberations and records." Yet, people are focusing on the how's and why's of the leak, rather than the contents of the opinion.