Supreme Court Justice Who Authored The Leaked Roe Document Is Hiding Out

There has been a passionate response to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade from both those who support and who are against the decision. Many celebrities took to social media to share their reactions, like musician Phoebe Bridgers, who shared her own recent abortion experience.

Politicians and political groups shared their thoughts as well. Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion activist group with a reputation for violence, also issued a statement Tuesday — not about the ruling, but the motivation of the leaker, per Salon. They believe the leak was meant to "foment social unrest that would apply pressure and intimidate the conservative justices to the point of changing their support for overturning Roe and Casey."

Whether or not Operation Rescue's conspiracy theory is true doesn't matter; law enforcement agencies around the country are bracing for protests. The National Fusion Center Association hosted a call this week after the decision was leaked, Politico reports, that similar to a call that held days before the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. "The call focused on threats that have metastasized in the wake of Politico's publication of an initial draft opinion," sources told Politico.

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the unveiling of the Supreme Court's decision making process dangerous, physical danger was probably not what he was alluding to. But it's clear that the leak has ignited bigger dangers that may end up taking lives.

There's a new fence around the Supreme Court building

Law enforcement agencies across the country are bracing for the public's reaction to the leaked Supreme Court decision about Roe v. Wade. Yahoo News obtained intelligence bulletins and internal reports nothing a history of violence coming not pro-choice activists, but from supporters of the decision to overturn Roe. "Law enforcement and public safety officials should anticipate an increasing in abortion-related events, rallies, and protests with the potential for violence and criminal activity," one bulletin read, "particularly leading up to and directly following the Supreme Court's decision in the Mississippi case ... expected by June 2022."

The Mississippi case the bulletin is referring to is the case the leaked decision is about. In 2018, Mississippi Today reports, the state passed a law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Originally, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional, but the state appealed, taking their case before the Supreme Court in May 2021.

Today in Washington, D.C., an eight-foot fence has been put up around the Supreme Court building, which CBS reports has been "under lockdown," with "all entry points blocked" and additional officers patrolling the grounds. The Justices, too, have been "given extra security since general threats of violence against the justices have increased" after personal information, like their home address and phone numbers, were published online in the wake of the leak.

Are the threats being made against the Supreme Court Justices what caused Justice Alito to cancel an event?

The Supreme Court has every reason to be worried, but maybe not about who you'd expect. There's a hisotry of anti-abortion activists becoming violent with Supreme Court Justices, which very realistically could happen again based on reports from federal and local law enforcement agencies. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in the 1973 Roe V. Wade decision, received "violent and graphic threats from anti-abortion activists," Salon reports, before one activist shot out a window in his home after the opinion came out.

Salon also reports that in the year leading up to the decision of Roe v. Wade, "seven abortion clinics and related facilities in and around Washington, D.C. had been bombed."

A U.S. government counterterrorism official told Yahoo News that authorities are on alert for similar attacks to happen in the wake of the leaked decision and the subsequent spike in misinformation — like that abortion is already illegal — that has happened since. "[Abortion providers] had targets on their backs before, now it's that much more."

Perhaps this threat is why Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the leaked opinion, cancelled his public events, including an appearance at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals conference (via Reuters). Sources told Reuters no reason was given for the cancellation.

There is a history of violence around abortion politics

Those familiar with the fight around the right to abortion probably aren't surprised by heightened states of alert. Frederick Clarkson, a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates as well as author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy," told Salon that "the history of bombings, arsons, assassinations and more always lurk in the background of the politics of abortion. In today's environment," he continued, "when violent mobs storm the Capitol and other governmental institutions across the country, unproven claims like [Operation Rescue's theory] add volatility."

Clarkson isn't wrong. A bulletin obtained by Yahoo News showed that an image "calling to bomb reproductive healthcare clinics and to kill pro-choice individuals" had been recirculating among neo-Nazi channels. Far right extremists' interest isn't just about being anti-abortion. Rita Katz, the head of SITE Intelligence Group, told Politico that this "is about the toxic resentment of feminism that unites the entire spectrum of these movements, from Neo-Nazis to QAnon."

The deadliest abortion-related attack to date happened in November 2015, when a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, left nine people injured and three people dead, per The New York Times. Government agencies are now on the lookout for copycat attacks, which the counterterrorism official told Yahoo News are expected.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court Justices are experiencing what many pregnant patients and abortion providers deal with: death threats, public harassment, a need for body guards and escorts just to get into a building that needs barricades. They, like abortion providers whose lives are threatened constantly, are just trying to do a job they took an oath to do.