Who is the culprit? Washington D.C. is Buzzing Over Supreme Court Leaks!
Supreme Court observers are shocked at the leaks that are flowing
from the high court's chambers in the wake of its landmark healthcare
Nobody can be trusted anymore! With all of the lying coming from the Obama administration the public just doesn't trust anyone with any type of authority specifically those in positions to make decisions. They are all liars until proven otherwise. To prove these people otherwise you have to be able to do your own research for the simple reason you can't believe the medias of any type any longer, those day have long past.
In contrast to Congress, which leaks like a sieve, and
the White House, which has dripped out tidbits of information, the court
has a reputation as leak-proof, which is a key part of its
That image has been seriously tested over the past four days as unnamed
sources have gone to the press with recriminations and finger-pointing
over the healthcare case.
The substance of the leaks is not
especially scandalous: Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with
the court’s conservative members, but changed his vote to join with the
court’s liberals in a 5-4 decision upholding President Obama’s
But the fact that those details leaked at all has legal circles parsing every detail in an effort to guess who talked.
fact of the leak is shocking,” said George Washington University law
professor Orrin Kerr, a former clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy.
is also a blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy, where he has become the
unofficial emcee of Washington’s new favorite parlor game: Guess the
When the opinion came out last week, court observers
suspected immediately that Roberts had changed his vote in the
healthcare case, based on oddities in the dissenting opinion filed by
Kennedy and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Sunday, CBS legal analyst Jan Crawford said two sources inside the
court had confirmed that Roberts switched sides. She did not say why
Roberts changed his vote, but noted that he sees his role partially as a
guardian of the court’s apolitical reputation. She also reported that
Kennedy lobbied Roberts aggressively to return to the fold.
court is extremely protective of its private deliberations. Court
watchers were shocked to see such a detailed account of deliberations
get revealed just days after a major decision, even though the facts
were already widely assumed.
“To me, the leak is a bigger story
because it fuels the Kremlin-ology,” said University of Richmond law
professor Kevin Walsh, a former clerk for Scalia.
participants in the guessing game believe the leak came from a
conservative who was upset with Roberts’s decision. It’s not clear that
changing his mind will actually undermine his reputation as a
deliberative justice who strives to keep the court out of politics, but
the leak seemed decidedly negative toward Roberts.
“This is going
to strain relationships no matter who did the leaking, but it’s really
hard to know how this plays out over the long term,” Kerr said.
crack in the court’s leak-proofing appeared Tuesday, when a “source
inside the court” disputed part of Crawford’s report.
confirmed Roberts’s switch but shot down one part of the rumor. Some
observers thought the conservatives’ dissenting opinion had originally
been written as a majority opinion, mostly because it did not spend
much time on Roberts’s decision to uphold the mandate under Congress’s
Not so, Crawford’s sources said. They told her that
the unusual dissent was not a product of last-minute scrambling, but
rather “a signal the conservatives no longer wished to engage in debate"
On Tuesday, a “source inside the court” went to
Salon to dispute that part of Crawford’s story, saying most of the
dissenting opinion had been written by Roberts before he switched sides.
The explanation offered by Crawford’s sources is “pure propagandistic spin,” according to Salon’s source.
kind of back-and-forth sniping through the press is common on Capitol
Hill and in political campaigns — but not at the Supreme Court, even in
Leaking in general, and the nature of the CBS
leak, also fly in the face of what Roberts’s critics say he was trying
to do with the healthcare decision.
There is no rule against any
justice changing his or her vote, and such changes have happened before.
Still, conservatives seized on the CBS report to paint Roberts as a
traitor to their cause and to suggest that his nomination might have
been a mistake (even though Roberts gave conservatives the legal
precedent they wanted on the most significant legal issues underlying
the healthcare case).
Roberts joked about the case last Friday,
before departing for a summer teaching position on the island of Malta.
The choice of an “impregnable island fortress” made sense, Roberts
quipped to a judicial conference in Pennsylvania.
All of the
justices were aware of the historic nature of the healthcare case. As is
their custom, they held the much-anticipated ruling until the last day
of the term, jetting off a few days later to their summer vacations and
temporary teaching positions. The majority was sure to take heavy
criticism from whichever side lost. And once Roberts switched his vote,
he had to assume the information would come out eventually, legal
experts said. But most expected that process to take years.
noted that former Chief Justice Warren Burger took an anonymous
drubbing from disgruntled clerks and colleagues in “The Brethren,” a
1979 book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
angered Burger and damaged relationships among the justices, but Walsh
said the frustration with Burger ran much deeper than the case-specific
griping about Roberts.
“That sort of thing can be very corrosive,
but I wouldn’t necessarily put this up there with that,” Walsh said.
“My impression is that Roberts is no Burger.”
the source of the Roberts leaks has centered around the conservative
justices and their clerks. The sources seem to have been dissatisfied
with Roberts. Observers also noted that Crawford has a good relationship
with Thomas, who has praised her work covering the court. And Scalia
attended the White House Correspondents Association dinner in 2009 as a
guest of ABC News. Crawford worked for that network at the time.
justices themselves were implicated in the speculation because clerks
would have more to lose by talking to the press. A decision has never
leaked before the court announced it publicly; the explanation for that
fact is that justices have nothing to gain and clerks would be throwing
away promising careers by leaking.
But the scuttlebutt might be
shifting away from the justices, both because of the Salon article and a
closer look at the months leading up to the ruling.
that Ramesh Ponnuru, an editor at the conservative National Review, said
in June that sources inside the court told him Roberts was “going a
little bit wobbly” after siding with the conservative bloc immediately
following oral arguments.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) also delivered an oddly timed floor speech last
month saying he believed Roberts would uphold the healthcare law.
conservatives are now asking whether chatter from inside the court had
begun to make its way outside — suggesting that the talk wasn’t coming
from the justices.
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