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target on the back

Bombshell Roe leak made justices 'targets for assassination,' Alito says

Justice Samuel Alito, who penned the draft majority opinion overturning abortion protections under Roe v. Wade (1973), believes the bombshell leak of the related ruling  — Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization — put the Supreme Court's members at risk of assassination, he said Tuesday in a public interview at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

"It was a grave betrayal of trust by somebody," Alito said, per The New York Times. "It was a shock, because nothing like that had happened in the past. It certainly changed the atmosphere at the court for the remainder of last term."

"The leak also made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us," he continued, pointing to the armed man arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home and later charged with attempted murder. "Among other things, the man said he was upset with the leaked draft suggesting the court would overturn Roe, the police have said," the Times summarizes.

Though Politico published a draft in early May, Alito's official majority opinion was handed down in June. In addition to protections under Roe, Dobbs overturned Casey, which "reaffirmed Roe's core holding" in 1992, the Times writes.

Alito also on Tuesday took issue with attacks on the court's legitimacy following the leak and ruling.

"Everybody in this country is free to disagree with our decisions," he said Tuesday. "To say that the court is exhibiting a lack of integrity is something quite different. ... It goes to character."