After the leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade and revert abortion regulation rights back to the individual states, the ideological left has mounted a full-on assault against the high court’s Republican-appointed members in an effort to coerce or intimidate them into changing their positions and uphold Roe‘s precedent.
That effort includes attacks against Chief Justice John Roberts and harsh critiques of his leadership, which is likely intended to embarrass and drive a wedge between him and his more conservative colleagues like Justice Clarence Thomas, as evidenced by a recent article from The Hill.
Roberts a target of attacks, intimidation efforts by left, media
The supposed straight news article from The Hill that reads more like an op-ed seemed to blame Roberts and his failed leadership for declining public approval for the Supreme Court and its integrity as a trustworthy and unimpeachable institution.
It ran through a litany of purported recent scandals involving Republican-appointed members, such as alleged conflicts of interest involving Thomas and his conservative activist wife, or alleged lies during confirmation hearings from Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, deeming Roberts responsible for all of it.
The article further asserted the circulating theory that Roberts had attempted, and perhaps already failed, to convince some of his colleagues to find a middle ground that would uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the case at the center of the current controversy, without overturning the prior precedent set by 1973’s Roe v. Wade or 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
And it further suggested that Roberts, as a relatively moderate institutionalist, was no longer in actual control of the “Roberts court” but instead had been outflanked by the conservative jurists to his right and was now, in effect, a mere associate justice within an unofficial “Thomas court.”
Roberts said leak “will not succeed” in undermining court’s work
While there may be some elements of truth in some or all of those assertions, it may also just be wishful thinking by the left, as Chief Justice Roberts himself has spoken out against the transparent efforts to try and disrupt the collegiality of the court’s members.
In the immediate aftermath of the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion, Roberts said in a statement that the leak itself was a “betrayal” of the court’s public trust that “will not succeed” in working to “undermine the integrity of our operations.” In calling for a full investigation by the Marshal of the Court, the chief justice also asserted, “The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.”
He further expounded upon that Thursday at a judicial conference in Atlanta, Georgia, according to NBC News, in which he said, “A leak of this stature is absolutely appalling,” and added, “If the person behind it thinks that it will affect our work, that’s just foolish.”
Thomas said court won’t be “bullied” into deciding specific outcomes
Justice Thomas himself also addressed the clear efforts to split the court’s Republican-appointed members and intimidate some of them into changing their stance on the abortion case while delivering remarks Friday at that same judicial conference in Atlanta for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals — which covers Alabama, Florida, and Georgia — that Thomas has oversight of.
According to National Review, Thomas said broadly of the American public, “We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like.”
“We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that,” he added.