I’ve now had just a few hours to suppose by means of the obvious leaked Dobbs majority opinion. (My tentative ideas are right here). Let’s play a recreation of whodunnit?

To start, there are just a few clues that may be derived from the doc itself. First, on the high of the primary web page is the phrase “1st Draft.” And it’s highlighted in yellow. The rectangle across the phrase is completely angled. This was executed with a digital spotlight characteristic, and never an actual highlighter. I can moderately infer this doc was printed on a colour laser printer. Most individuals would merely print a 98 web page doc on a conventional black-and-white printer. Most high-quality colour printers go away a watermark (monitoring dots) on each web page. Regardless that this doc was scanned by Politico, the authorities can most likely hint it.

Second, within the higher right-hand nook of the doc is a distribution checklist. The doc is from Justice Alito. It was circulated on February 10, 2022. Above Alito’s title are the names of the opposite eight Justices. However none of these names are checked or highlighted in any manner. It is not clear to me that this particular doc was ever truly distributed to the opposite chambers.

Third, Dobbs was argued on December 1, and this draft was circulated about two months afterward February 10, 2022. Now, this draft is sort of three months previous. There could have been modifications. On fast skim, I discovered a minimum of one typo. On web page 61, the draft opinion cites Ferguson v. Schrupa; it’s Ferguson v. Skrupa.

So whodunnit? I can consider three attainable solutions.

First, this leak could have come from the chambers of a liberal Justice. Beneath this concept, the leak was designed to create a backlash, and strain a conservative justice to defect from Alito’s opinion. However this concept is senseless. If something, this leak from a liberal chamber will entrench the five-member majority to keep away from the looks that the strain marketing campaign labored.

Second, this leak could have come from the chambers of a conservative Justice. Beneath this concept, the leak was designed to forestall a conservative justice from defecting from Alito’s opinion. However this concept additionally is senseless. If something, this leak from a conservative chamber would infuriate a swing justice, and push them out.

Any clerk should know that this kind of leak would damage their careers, and attainable disbarment or legal prosecution. And a Justice should know that authorizing this leak would most likely result in impeachment proceedings. I don’t suppose this leak got here from a chamber.

There’s a third choice: the leak didn’t come from a chamber. I hinted at that concept in my preliminary put up.  Slightly, the leak could have come from somebody with entry to the Supreme Court docket’s draft opinions. And historical past recommend that this kind of leak is feasible. Josh Gerstein (sure, that Josh Gerstein) wrote an essay for Politico tonight about previous leaks from the Supreme Court docket:

In 1979, ABC Information Supreme Court docket correspondent Tim O’Brien went on air with studies predicting the end result of two selections that had been days away from launch. Chief Justice Warren Burger launched an inquiry into whether or not anybody on the court docket had breached protocol, and a Authorities Printing Workplace worker concerned in setting kind for the court docket’s rulings was transferred to a unique division. The staffer denied leaking any data.

Right here is my fully uninformed hypothesis. This doc was typeset and print in a proper style. This doc was additionally probably not circulated to chambers, however was floating round. And whoever had this doc doesn’t but have entry to the more moderen drafts, or draft dissents.

The Chief Justice ought to unravel this case instantly, and be clear in regards to the investigation.

The put up Whodunnit? appeared first on Cause.com.

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