Leaks And Plumbers

Leaks and Plumbers


Leonard Zwelling


The newspapers and editorial columns are filled with liberal outrage and feckless speculation about who is behind the recent leak of the draft document from the Supreme Court that suggests the end of the Roe v. Wade period of abortion rights in America.

But this is by no means the first leak to cause a branch of the federal government headaches. The most famous of these was the Pentagon Papers that Daniel Ellsberg leaked to The New York Times and Washington Post in 1971 that demonstrated the true nature of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam and that victory was never possible. The Nixon White House was so troubled by the Pentagon Papers leak that it created a Special Investigations Unit to root out the leakers. These people, many of whom were later caught up in the Watergate break-in and cover-up, were known as the Plumbers (see attached). I bet John Roberts could use some plumbers right now.

There are two basic theories about the origin of the Supreme Court leak.

The first has someone on the right leaking the draft to lock in the majority positions of Bret Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Documenting how they were leaning would, in theory, make it harder for them to back track and side with preserving abortion rights. In other words, it was a form of high stakes blackmail of the conservative wing of the Court. If Alito, Thomas, Barrett, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch all lined up supporting the constitutionality of the Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks, that would be enough to overturn Roe (abortion permitted up to 23 weeks of pregnancy) and lock in the position of Alito who wrote the majority opinion that there is no Constitutional right to an abortion and this should be left up to the individual states.

The second theory is that the leak came from the left to rile up the somewhat disappointed and non-energized Democratic base to try and prevent the likely victory of Republicans in the November mid-terms.

My favorite theory, and one that I put forward on my own, is that Clarence Thomas brought the draft home and wife Ginni leaked it to Politico.

In essence, it doesn’t matter.

First, the leak was not an illegal act.

Second, most people were pretty sure this was the way it was going to go anyway.

Third, don’t blame the leaker for the result. Blame Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Mitch McConnell, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. RBG should have quit while Obama was in office which would have allowed President Obama his choice to fill the seat. It wouldn’t have been with Justice Barrett. McConnell never should have been allowed to get away with the blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination. Hillary Clinton ran a lousy campaign and lost more than The Donald won. And Trump is Trump. Who did you think he was going to appoint? Ketanji Jackson Brown? Not.

Elections have consequences. Even though the majority of Americans want the right to an abortion preserved in some form, that’s not how the system works.

Finally, if you really want to find a culprit. How about the Democratic Congress elected in 2008 with 60 Senate seats? Why didn’t that Congress pass a law guaranteeing the right to an abortion instead of wasting two years on ObamaCare?

I don’t really care who leaked the document and there are only about 50 suspects. Chief Justice Roberts should be able to figure this out, but in the end this draft will probably resemble the final decision and 26 states will move or have moved to outlaw abortion. This will disproportionately affect poor women. This is singularly short-sighted as it will only go to generate more kids on welfare.

This is what you get when men get to decide on what happens to women’s bodies.

Once again, powerful justices, all men, one Black and one woman, will decide the fate of the entire 330 million of us because the Congress cannot get anything done. And now even the Supreme Court has become partisan. The culture wars rage on.

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