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John Roberts tried to flip justices to preserve Roe v. Wade — but the opinion leak shut him down: Report

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Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly tried to persuade his conservative colleagues to preserve Roe v. Wade — but the shocking leak of Justice Samuel Alito's draft majority opinion abruptly ended his campaign, according to one report.

What is the background?

After Politico published a draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, in early May that showed the Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe, Roberts condemned the leak and promised an investigation.

"To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed," Roberts vowed. "The work of the Court will not be affected in any way."

What did Roberts do?

CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic revealed in a new story — which is filled with biased language that promotes the pro-abortion agenda — that Roberts lobbied the court's conservative-leaning justices for months before the leak.

His reported goal? Preserve the scaffolding of abortion rights.

After hearing oral arguments for the case in December, the justices took an initial vote, which succeeded in overturning Roe. That is when Roberts' campaign began, CNN reported.

Over the course of the next several months, Roberts discussed his concerns about overturning Roe, targeting Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Roberts reportedly wanted to uphold Mississippi's 15-week ban on abortion, but at the same time preserve the framework of Roe.

However, his lobbying came to sudden end when Politico published the leaked draft.

CNN reported:

Multiple sources told CNN that Roberts' overtures this spring, particularly to Kavanaugh, raised fears among conservatives and hope among liberals that the chief could change the outcome in the most closely watched case in decades. Once the draft was published by Politico, conservatives pressed their colleagues to try to hasten release of the final decision, lest anything suddenly threaten their majority.

Roberts' persuasive efforts, difficult even from the start, were thwarted by the sudden public nature of the state of play. He can usually work in private, seeking and offering concessions, without anyone beyond the court knowing how he or other individual justices have voted or what they may be writing.

Interestingly, CNN also reported that the Supreme Court learned the opinion had been leaked in late April, days before Politico published the draft.

Supreme Court Marshall Gail Curley, who headed the investigation of the leak, has not found the source of the leak nearly three months later.

"We're several months in and law clerks and permanent employees have been asked to turn over electronic devices," Biskupic explained on CNN. "They've continued with the search. Nobody has been caught and there's just a lot of skepticism inside, that despite how aggressive the investigation has gone, that they are not close to finding out who it is."

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