December 5, 2022
One of the Supreme Court's longtime reporters said the "leading theory" is that a conservative clerk leaked the majority draft opinion indicating the high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

One of the Supreme Court’s longtime reporters said the “leading theory” is that a conservative clerk leaked the majority draft opinion indicating the high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Nina Totenberg, a legal affairs correspondent for NPR, said the only theory that makes sense is that the leak came from someone who “was afraid that this majority might not hold.”

“The leading theory is a conservative clerk who was afraid that one of the conservatives might be persuaded by Chief Justice Roberts to join a much more moderate opinion,” Totenberg said during an appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

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Totenberg also dismissed speculation that the leak originated from the liberal side.

“There’s another theory that it was an outraged liberal clerk, but I think the only one that makes sense is that it came from somebody who was afraid this majority might not hold — that Chief Justice Roberts might persuade one of the conservatives to come over to him,” Totenberg added.

The reporter, who is poised to release a memoir detailing her 50-year friendship with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg later this year, said that the fallout of the draft opinion has been like an “earthquake” within the court.

Despite the upheaval, Totenberg said she believes that it is “very unlikely” that the leaker will be found.

“You’re going to see the court will look like it is literally hunkered down, the security walls, all those kinds of things, at least till the end of June or later,” Totenberg said. “This has emotionally put the court under seige in the same way that the Capitol across this very street was put under literal siege.”

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Earlier this year, Totenberg reported that Roberts had “in some form, asked the other justices to mask up” in the courtroom.

Justices involved in the ensuing controversy, including Roberts, who issued a rare statement, denied the story. NPR stood by the reporting.

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