Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘suspect’ in Supreme Court leak, conservative TV host says

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Theories are flying about the release of a Supreme Court draft opinion that, if it holds, would overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion access.

One question many Republicans are asking: Who leaked it?

On Tuesday, a conservative TV host zeroed in on someone specific: Ketanji Brown Jackson, who’s set to become the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

“She would be my first suspect when it comes to the leak because Ketanji Brown Jackson is a radical left-wing activist, more radical than any other justice in the history of the Supreme Court,” Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield told viewers. “I believe she is capable of undermining the court this way.”

Newsmax did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Thursday.

Jackson has not yet been sworn in as a Supreme Court justice and did not hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the case of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and the subject of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft opinion. That draft circulated among Alito’s fellow justices on Feb. 10, Politico reported, more than two weeks before President Biden nominated Jackson to the high court and nearly two months before the Senate confirmed her.

Supreme Court is ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, leaked draft shows

Jackson won’t take the bench for official duty until the first day of the court’s next term on Oct. 3, although she’s expected to join the court in late June or early July once the justices’ summer recess begins, The Post reported. Despite not joining the court for months, Jackson would probably start organizing her chambers and hiring staff before then, The Post reported in early April after she was confirmed.

During his segment, Stinchfield acknowledged that Jackson has not yet been sworn in as he, without evidence, suggested she may have leaked the draft opinion – a breach that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called a “betrayal of the confidences of the Court… intended to undermine the integrity of our operations.”

“I find it suspect that the first leak coming out of the Supreme Court in history comes shortly after Judge Jackson is confirmed,” Stinchfield said. “I want to know if her law clerks, who I am sure have already been hired, possibly even working at the high court already before her swearing in, have access to these draft decisions.”

The Supreme Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

The Supreme Court will investigate the leaked draft of abortion opinion

The morning after the draft leaked, Roberts ordered an investigation into how Politico obtained it, The Post reported. Legal experts have said that, although disclosing such a document is not necessarily a crime, one could make a case for charging the leaker with theft of government information under the United States criminal code.

While accusing an incoming Supreme Court justice as a “suspect” of an extreme breach of the high court’s protocol was unusual, the theme of Stinchfield’s attack tracked with conservatives ’focus on the identity and intent of the anonymous leaker, as opposed to the effect that overturning Roe would have on abortion access.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Claimed that “by every indication” the leak was “yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law,” The Post reported.

“The integrity and independence of the Supreme Court is once again under attack,” McConnell said, adding, “We have within the court itself someone else threatening the independence of the court.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are pointing to a possible conservative culprit, theorizing that such a mole is trying to lock in justices’ preliminary votes, which they might otherwise change before the court makes a final decision.

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