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Chief Justice Roberts Has a Message for Those Trying to Sway the Bench's Decision-Making

Win McNamee/Pool via AP

Speaking Thursday at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference meeting in Atlanta, Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak of the court’s opinion “absolutely appalling” but said it will not affect the bench’s decision-making. 


“A leak of this sort — let’s assume that’s what it is — is absolutely appalling, and if the people behind it, or person behind it, thinks that it’s going to have an effect on our decision process, that’s absolutely foolish,” Roberts said. “We will go about doing our work as we would in any event, regardless of the leak.”

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court confirmed the draft opinion’s authenticity but cautioned it's not the final position. 

"[On Monday], a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court's confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the Court said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The Marshal of the Court was tasked with investigating the source of the leak.


On Thursday, Roberts shared another part about the leak that upset him. 

“The thing that upsets me quite a bit, though, is that it might give the wrong impression about our workforce,” he said. “The people who work at the Supreme Court are extremely dedicated to the institution, and in fact to the rule of law,” Roberts said, adding that extends from “from the guy who empties the wastebasket at night to the most tenured justice on the court.”

“They share a common commitment to the mission of the court,” Roberts continued. “And this episode, this absolutely appalling episode, shouldn’t detract from that.”

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