Future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s refusal to condemn the leak of an explosive draft of the high court’s pending abortion opinion or the ongoing protests outside the homes of jurists falls between “cowardly” and “sinister,” according to former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.
Jackson, who is set to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer after the current term ends, was interviewed by the Washington Post. When asked about the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion and related protests at the Washington-area homes of justices expected to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case determining a federal right to abortion, she demurred.
“I can’t answer that,” Jackson answered when asked if leaking the draft opinion “was a good thing or a bad thing.”
When asked what she thought about the ongoing protests outside the homes of Alito and fellow justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who did not sign the draft opinion, Jackson was equally oblique.
“I don’t have any comment,” she said.
McCarthy, also a Fox News contributor, was scathing in his criticism of Jackson’s refusal to take a position in a National Review column.
BREAKING NEWS: Protesters wearing outfits from The Handmaid’s Tale protest outside of anti-choice Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s house to hold her accountable for her stance against Roe v. Wade. RT THIS IF YOU SUPPORT THE PROTESTERS!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) May 12, 2022
“This ranges from somewhere between cowardly and sinister, much like the failure of the justices to issue a joint statement that echoes the chief justice’s condemnation of the leak and statement of determination to identify the leaker, and that condemns the protests, which violate federal law,” McCarthy wrote.
Roberts has ordered an internal investigation into the leak of the opinion in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case challenges the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law that bans most abortion operations after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. The draft opinion not only rules in favor of the state law, but overturns Roe v. Wade and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which affirmed the federal right to abortion.
The final decision could come anytime within the next month or so. But the leak touched off widespread pro-abortion protests at both the U.S. Supreme Court and at the homes of justices. The Biden administration has encouraged the protests, but called for demonstrators to remain peaceful.
Attorney General Merrick Garland last week ordered the U.S. Marshal Service to provide additional security protections to Supreme Court justices. Garland acted as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, both Republicans, wrote to urge him to “provide appropriate resources to safeguard the Justices and enforce the law as it is written.”
The governors pointed to a 1950 federal statute that declares it illegal to picket or parade “in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer.”
While most Democrats have been silent on the protests outside the homes of jurists, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Illinois), has called them “reprehensible.”