By Sherman Frederick?Properly Subversive

Who leaked the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade?

I suspect the court already knows, or has a damn good idea, who the leaker is because if you zero in on the three minority justices and staff who gain the most from the leak  – Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen G. Breyer – the list of likely suspects becomes very small.

Also, there wasn’t just one leak. There were as many as three. That means there is an expanded group of journalists who know the truth.

That vessel can’t hold water for long.

Tom Goldstein of the SCOTUSblog wrote on May 5 that the first leak was to the Wall Street Journal editorial board which produced a predictive editorial about what was brewing at the court. The second leak came to Politico.

He writes: “Likely within the past few days, a person familiar with the court’s deliberations told them that five members of the court – Alito, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch – originally voted to overturn Roe and that remains the current vote. In addition, the position of the chief justice is unclear. The remaining justices are dissenting.”

The third leak came later to Politico. Probably from the same person, but “not with certainty,” Goldstein says.

The ideological side that benefits from this leak is clearly the court minority. By leaking the draft it electrified abortion rights forces and put pressure on the majority to re-think how divisive the decision will be. Some suggest the majority side leaked it to keep the votes from straying. Maybe, but Goldstein who watches the court closely also subscribes to the idea that the leak sprang from the minority side.

Look, we are a divided nation and no issue highlights that more than the abortion debate.

While some will celebrate the “bravery” of those behind this leak of the century, when the heat of the moment fades, this episode will become the Benedict Arnold betrayal moment for the American judicial system.

Justice Thomas may have put it best: “The institution that I’m a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone, you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that.’ There is such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing … it was beyond anyone’s understanding, or at least anyone’s imagination, that someone would do that.”

Yet, it happened. The justices will meet this Thursday without staff for the first time since the leak.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on a wall in that room?


– Lynyrd Skynyrd has a new song – “Rest Home Alabama.”

– The man who invented autocorrect has died. May he roast in piss.

– We told the restaurant manager that our salads were a bit on the dry side. It was a situation that we felt needed addressing.

— Dare of the week: Call the local women’s rights group and ask for the man in charge.

See you next week. In the meantime, avoid soreheads, laugh a little and always question authority.

“Properly Subversive” is commentary written by Sherman R. Frederick, a Nevada Hall of Fame journalist and co-founder of Battle Born Media, a news organization dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. You can reach him by email at