Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts privately lobbied conservatives to preserve Roe v. Wade protections but his effort was upended after someone leaked Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, CNN reports.
Roberts lobbied his fellow justices “to the bitter end,” sources told CNN, but the leak “made the effort all but impossible.”
Roberts continued to press conservatives until the final weeks of the session even as the leak raised tensions in the court.
Once the leaked draft opinion was published by Politico, conservative activists pressed the court to quickly hand down its final decision over concerns that something could change.
Roberts’ particularly targeted Justice Brett Kavanaugh, though it’s unclear whether he was ever actually close to changing his view.
Kavanaugh signaled in December that he was open to overturning Roe and voted that way in a private conference shortly after oral arguments in the abortion case.
Kavanaugh has “wavered in the past and been open to Roberts' persuasion,” CNN reported, raising concerns among conservative activists that the overturn of Roe could be at risk.
Conservative activists’ role:
It’s unclear who was behind the unprecedented Supreme Court leak but it came as right-wing activists expressed alarm that the decision could be at risk.
Roberts launched an investigation into who might be behind "this betrayal of the confidences of the Court." He vowed that court's work "will not be affected in any way."
Roberts ultimately wrote a concurring opinion in the Dobbs case, agreeing with the majority’s decision to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban while calling the overturn of Roe “a serious jolt to the legal system.”
"Both the Court's opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share,” he wrote.