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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that’s currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Thune noted that attempting to intimidate the Supreme Court has become par for the course for the left, and this breach could erode trust among justices and Supreme Court staff.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, Monday’s leak of a draft opinion in the Dobbs Supreme Court case was an unprecedented and deeply disturbing breach of the confidentiality that almost always surrounds Supreme Court deliberations.
“It’s difficult to think this was anything but an escalation in the radical left’s campaign to bully the Supreme Court into delivering decisions in line with the priorities of the Democrat Party.
“From court-packing threats to threats from the Democrat leader himself that were directed at specific justices, attempting to intimidate the Supreme Court has become par for the course for liberals.
“But Monday’s leak represents a new low.
“And almost as disturbing as the leak has been the reaction from my Democrat colleagues.
“Their hysterical comments have been focused almost entirely on the prospect of their getting an outcome they don’t want in the Dobbs case.
“I have seen almost no concern about how this leak will affect the integrity of the Supreme Court as an institution.
“And their activist base has gone out of its way to praise the leaker.
“More than one Democrat has actually called for undermining the integrity of the Supreme Court by packing the court with additional justices.
“More than one Democrat senator believes that the proper response to a Supreme Court decision you don’t like is to add additional justices to the court until you can be confident that you will get the outcomes you want.
“Other Democrat senators have proposed undermining the integrity of the U.S. Senate by abolishing the Senate filibuster rule – again, in order to be sure they can get the legislative outcome they want in response to this possible decision in the Dobbs case.
“Mr. President, regardless of what side you’re on in this debate, you should be willing to stand up for the rule of law and the integrity of our institutions.
“That shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
“Our system of government depends upon the rule of law – which is based upon an independent judiciary free of political pressure or partisan influence.
“Do Democrats really want a future in which Supreme Court decisions are made based on political pressure or bullying, rather than on the justices’ impartial application of the law and the Constitution to the case before them?
“Maybe they do.
“But if they continue to push in that direction, they will end up sacrificing our system of government in the process.
“Mr. President, I have strong beliefs on any number of issues, including abortion.
“But above all I believe in our system of government and the rule of law.
“And while I will fight passionately in support of the causes I believe in, I will not sacrifice the integrity of our institutions for what would ultimately be nothing but temporary political gain.
“It’s starting to seem like most of my Democrat colleagues disagree with that position.
“That may – possibly – be a recipe for political success.
“But it is also a recipe for destroying free government.
“Mr. President, I am glad that Chief Justice Roberts has taken steps to investigate this unprecedented breach of trust at the court.
“And I hope he will receive the full support of the Department of Justice should this turn out to be a criminal matter.
“It’s difficult to overstate how much this breach could erode trust among justices and Supreme Court staff, and I hope that the damage is minimized by a quick identification of the party responsible.
“And I hope every one of the justices will continue to feel free to do their jobs and follow the facts, the law, and the Constitution.
“Mr. President, at least one Democrat has suggested that Republicans are spending more time commenting on the leak than on the content of Justice Alito’s draft because we’re somehow scared to talk about our pro-life position.
“Let me be perfectly clear.
“I’m proud to defend the right to life – and I know my colleagues are as well.
“I think most of us have refrained from commenting because we don’t yet truly know the outcome.
“But I will say this.
“I hope Justice Alito’s opinion ends up being the majority opinion.
“As I have long believed, Roe v. Wade was a terrible decision by an activist court that reached far beyond the Constitution and the court’s interpretive role to impose a new abortion regime on the entire country.
“And I hope the Supreme Court overturns Roe and returns the question of abortion to the American people and their elected representatives, where it belongs.
“Mr. President, the fight to defend life is in keeping with our highest ideals as Americans – our passion for justice, our dedication to human rights, and our compassion for the innocent and the vulnerable.
“I am grateful for all the Americans who have fought to make sure the right to life of vulnerable human beings is protected and who have spent their time and their resources helping moms in need.
“And I look forward to a day – which I hope is soon approaching – when innocent, unborn Americans will enjoy the full protection of the law.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”