Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito said on Tuesday that the leak of his draft opinion quashing Roe v. Wade puts conservative majority jurists at risk, making them “targets of assassination.”
“The leak also prompted those of us who were considered the majority to support the cancellation of the Roe and Casey assassination targets because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent this from happening. happen by killing one of us. And we know it,” Judge Alito said at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.
Nicholas Roske, 26, was arrested in June near the home of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in Montgomery County, Maryland, and charged with conspiring to kill him. The Californian pleaded not guilty.
“A man has been charged with attempting to kill Judge Kavanaugh. It’s an ongoing case, so I won’t say anything more about it,” Judge Alito said.
The conservative jurist, author of the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson returning authority on abortion limits to states, made his comments during a 70-minute discussion with moderator John Malcolm at the annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture.
Judge Alito called the May 2 leak of Dobbs’ draft notice to Politico a “gross betrayal.” Chief Judge John G. Roberts Jr. ordered an investigation into the leak, but no perpetrator was identified.
“It was a serious betrayal of trust by someone, and it was a shock because nothing like this had happened in the past, so it certainly changed the atmosphere at court for the rest of last term. “, Judge Alito said.
He said the judges and their staff are eager to “get back to normal” as the court begins a new term.
“I think all of us, all of the judges, and I think the people who work in the building – we have great staff, I’ll add that – want things to get back to normal, like before all of this last quarter, before COVID, get back to normal as much as possible, and that’s what we hope will happen, ”he said. “And I think everyone is working on that.”
Six of the court’s nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents, while three were appointed by Democrats.
Asked about the Liberals’ proposals to fill the court with more justices, Justice Alito stressed that such a decision was up to Congress, but he liked the current size.
“I personally think – again, I don’t have any special status to speak about it – nine is a good number,” he said. “Somewhere in the mid-range. Some state supreme courts have seven. They find it workable. Something in the mid-range would be a good number.