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Court leak is catnip for those who love a juicy DC whodunit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington loves a whodunit. And the latest one comes with the stunning plot twist of a leak from the famously buttoned-up Supreme Court.

The publication this past week of a draft opinion that said Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion in the United States, was wrong from the start and should be overruled, has set off sleuthing from every corner of the capital.

Who could possibly be behind such a glaring breach of trust? Why did that person choose to leak the draft? Why did that person choose a reporter from Politico? Who will investigate the matter? Will there be consequences? What will the court’s ultimate opinion say?


Washington, by nature, abhors a vacuum. So the two months before the court actually issues a final ruling will be filled with guesses, surmise, false starts — and maybe even the truth about who is behind the leak.

It’s an intrigue in the tradition of Watergate’s “Deep Throat” — one of Washington’s best-kept secrets for more than three decades; of Iran-Contra, with classified documents spirited out in a secretary’s undergarments; of “Primary Colors,” a roman à clef about a certain Southern governor.

The Trump was provided almost an entire genre. Among them: an unidentified whistleblower’s complaint about Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine and the writings of “Anonymous,” a senior administration official who only stayed anonymous for about two years after he wrote an opinion piece and subsequent book slamming the president.

The Supreme Court leak is “up there with the most important disclosures of this century and the last century — maybe ever,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the private Project on Government Oversight. “It ranks, certainly, with the Pentagon Papers and Wikileaks and Deep Throat.”

While leaks spout daily in gossipy Washington, the explosive revelation of a draft opinion that would overturn the 1973 decision creating a nationwide right to abortion has captivated the city.

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