Asked about how the leak affected the court during a Heritage Foundation event on Tuesday, Alito said, “It was a great betrayal of trust by somebody, and it was a shock, because nothing like that had happened in the past, so it certainly changed the atmosphere at the court for the remainder of last term.”
The draft opinion, authored by Alito, was leaked to Politico weeks before the final ruling taking away constitutional protections for abortion was handed down.
“The leak made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination, because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us,” Alito said.
Alito also referred to the arrest of a California man blocks away from Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home. The man was armed with a handgun, a knife, pepper spray and burglary tools. The suspect was charged with attempted murder and has pleaded not guilty.
“That was last term,” said Alito. “Now we’re in a new term.” Justices and staff members “want things to get back to normal, the way they were before all of this last term, before Covid,” he added.