Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Roberts slammed the leak as an “egregious breach of trust” in the high court’s first public comment since the draft opinion was published by Politico late Monday.
“Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” Roberts said in a statement.
“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 anyway.”
He added: “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”
The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito and leaked in an extraordinary breach of Supreme Court procedure that immediately sparked political outrage and protests outside the court.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in the 98-page first draft labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.”
The right to have an abortion up until around 23 or 24 weeks, has been federally protected under the Constitution since the Roe v. Wade decision 49 years ago in 1973.