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Noah Feldman

US Justices Are Looking More Like Politicians

Supreme Court leaks and abortion protests outside homes are signs of an institution that is losing its distinctive place in the American political ecology.

Sign of the times.

Sign of the times.

Photographer: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Supreme Court is unraveling. The leak last week of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that would overturn the 1973 abortion-rights precedent Roe v. Wade is just part of it.

The court began to leak even before the opinion (there were reports in late April that Chief Justice John Roberts was trying to coax Justice Brett Kavanaugh to abandon the anti-Roe majority) as well as after (there were reports that Kavanaugh hadn’t wavered). Huge fences have gone up around the court, blocking access for protesters and everybody else. The justices are also facing protests outside their homes.