A group of pro-choice protesters sit gathered outside the US Supreme Court

You Know What I Couldn’t Care Less About Right Now? How This Supreme Court Leak Undermines Norms

When news broke Monday night that the Supreme Court had reportedly voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and a draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion had been leaked to Politico, there was a huge range of reactions. Despair, rage, dejection, determination—there were a lot of valid responses to be had. And then there were the people whose first reaction was to take to their fainting couches and lament the leak itself as undermining those all-important institutional norms.

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Those people all need to take a seat today.

Some of this obsession with norms is coming from conservatives operating under the assumption that the draft was leaked by a liberal, pro-choice aide or clerk or someone else with access to the document. Some of them are going so far as to call the leak an “insurrection” and to insist the FBI be brought in to investigate.

There is no proof that the leak was done by a liberal insider and in fact, there is a strong argument being made that the point was to lock in any wavering conservative justices, making sure no one flips and that this decision moves forward as written. (Here’s a great thread breaking that down.)

But the “liberal zealot” narrative is an obvious fit for Fox News and rabid Republicans so it’s easy to dismiss. What I have much less patience for is the more middle-of-the-road pearl-clutching, mostly coming from older white men, who are so much more outraged at the idea of the leak—at the perceived undermining of institutions—than they are at the content of the leak and the fact that the reproductive rights and bodily autonomy of half the population are being stolen from us.

I have absolutely no patience for those people.

You know what literally no one needs right now? For the guy famous for exposing himself to colleagues on a Zoom call to weigh in on how this “shattering experience” affects the court.

Some people need to get their priorities in order, especially if those people are being paid to write headlines or go onto cable news shows to give ostensibly expert analysis about this cataclysmic moment in time.

It’s also worth noting that while this sort of leak is rare (and sure, pretty important if still not what everyone should be focusing their anger on right now), it’s not unprecedented.

Also, at the end of the day, we’re talking about an institution that a lot of people don’t hold in that high esteem anyway—at least not like Jeffrey Toobin thinks we do. It’s hard to undermine an institution that appears to be in a constant state of undermining itself.

(image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.