Politics: SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts privately tried to sway other justices' opinions in a bid to save abortion rights, only to be thwarted by the unprecedented draft leak, according to a new CNN report

Kansas vote could allow ban, but abortion foes mum on plans

  Kansas vote could allow ban, but abortion foes mum on plans OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Republicans have spent more than three decades making it as hard as possible to get an abortion in Kansas, and now that their chance to ban the procedure is in sight, they’re reluctant to tell voters whether that's their goal. In the first statewide abortion referendum since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe vs. Wade, Kansas voters will decide Aug. 2 on a proposed change to the state constitution that would clear the way for its Republican-controlled Legislature to more strictly regulate or ban abortion.

Chief Justice John Roberts. Drew Angerer/Getty Images © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Chief Justice John Roberts. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • In late June, the Supreme Court struck down the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade.
  • SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts privately tried to sway other justices ahead of the ruling, CNN reported.
  • His persuasive efforts were thwarted in part by the unprecedented draft opinion leak, according to CNN.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts quietly tried to sway other justices to protect abortion rights, only for his efforts to be foiled by the unprecedented draft opinion leak in May, CNN reported Tuesday.

Multiple sources familiar with Roberts' conversations told CNN that the chief justice directed his efforts towards conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh — and to a lesser extent, Justice Amy Coney Barrett — in a failed bid to turn away from the draft opinion that was leaked in May.

Supreme Court leak probe: So many questions, so few answers

  Supreme Court leak probe: So many questions, so few answers WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than 24 hours after the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade, Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the “egregious breach. " Since then? Silence. The Supreme Court won't say whether it's still investigating. The court also won't say whether the leaker has been identified or whether anyone has been disciplined. Or whether an outside law firm or the FBI has been called in. OrSince then? Silence.

The Politico report on the leaked opinion shook the nation, as well as threw a wrench in Roberts' plans to save reproductive rights, lifting the veil on what was typically a private deliberation and sparking a public national outcry.

According to the CNN report, the justices on the nation's highest court were aware of the upcoming Politico report on the draft opinion at the end of April — a week before it was released — and watched in anxious anticipation of the report in the days leading up to its publication the evening of May 2.

Following the draft opinion leak, the Supreme Court voted in late June in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which struck down the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the opinion of the nation's highest court, declared that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and "the States may regulate abortion" now. In the opinion, Alito maintained that the right to an abortion was a part of the right to privacy — neither of which are included in the Constitution.

With his persuasive efforts thwarted, Roberts ultimately concurred to uphold the court's decision on Dobbs but dissented on overturning Roe, saying that gutting the federal right to an abortion is "a serious jolt to the legal system."

"Both the Court's opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share," Roberts said in his opinion.

A representative for the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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Kansas abortion amendment vote seen as a bellwether for post-Roe era .
Voters in Kansas will weigh in directly on the issue of abortion, deciding whether to amend the state constitution to allow greater restrictions on the procedure. Kansas primary election ballots include a proposal to amend the state constitution to explicitly disavow the right to access abortion. It will be the first popular vote on abortion rights in nearly 50 years. In reversing Roe in June, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion should be left to individual states.

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