Chief Justice John Roberts called it “absolutely appalling” that a draft Supreme Court opinion could be leaked.
Roberts comments come just days after Politico published a draft opinion in which the court overturns abortion rights.
The chief justice was making his first public appearance since the report.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak of a draft opinion “absolutely appalling” on Thursday during an address to federal judges, according to CNN.
Roberts told his fellow federal judges that it was “foolish” for the unknown leaker to believe they could affect the court’s work. He also chalked up the breach to “one bad apple.”
The chief justice was making his first public appearance since Politico’s extraordinary publication of a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would explicitly overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ending a federal right to an abortion. Roberts, according to CNN, was speaking to “lawyers and judges at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference.”
The court has since confirmed the authenticity of the draft decision that was published on Monday. Roberts also condemned the leak and announced an investigation to find out how the secretive high court suffered such an embarrassing breach.
“I think this situation right now is Chief Justice Roberts’ worst nightmare,” David Lat, a close court watcher, previously told Insider.
At the time, Roberts called the leak a “betrayal of the confidences of the court.”
Some Senate Republicans have called for the FBI to be involved in the investigation, although it’s unclear what federal law could have been violated. Republicans have also openly speculated that the opinion was leaked by someone with liberal views, but there’s no evidence to that effect and it’s not yet clear what the person who leaked the opinion was trying to achieve.
In its initial report, Politico described the source of the opinion as only “from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings.”
The Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to Mississippi’s anti-abortion law that effectively bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks. The law was one of a series that was specifically designed as a way to get the high court to potentially overturn Roe completely.
A spokesperson for the court did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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