“You want to talk about an insurrection?” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “That’s a judicial insurrection, to be taking that out and trying to kneecap a potential majority through kind of extra-constitutional means.”
“For all the left’s cries of ‘threats to democracy’ and ‘insurrection’ about things like uncensored speech on Twitter or literally walking peacefully through a door, what happened Monday night appeared to be a far truer and more dangerous example of treasonous insurrection,” The Federalist railed.
According to right-wing podcaster Matt Walsh, it was “an actual insurrection,” one “100000000 times more serious than the Capitol riot.” Former George W. Bush staffer Ari Fleischer called the leak “an insurrection against the Supreme Court.” It goes on, because that’s how Republican talking points work. They come from everywhere all at once.
We are talking here about the leak of a non-classified draft document a few weeks ahead of when a final version of the document would have been publicly released. It is not the same thing as a mob violently storming the U.S. Capitol to prevent the Congress from doing its job and carrying out the peaceful transition of power. It is not the same thing as a sitting president and his aides trying to pressure state officials to “find” the votes needed to flip an election result.
The Republican hissy fit is ostensibly based on the idea that the leak was intended to intimidate the right-wing justices away from this position, but it sure looks like a big distraction—the dog caught the car and it turns out not to have been as desirable as expected. For that matter, many court observers say it could equally be intended to lock in initial votes to fully overturn Roe and prevent Chief Justice John Roberts from pulling votes to a slightly less extreme position in the interest of protecting the court’s ever-fading legitimacy as an institution.
The leak of the draft is under investigation. If it turns out to have been leaked by a conservative, you can confidently bet that Republicans will launch another distraction. But the real story will remain the tens of millions of people stripped of reproductive rights, the women who die from unsafe illegal abortions, the people whose lives are reshaped by unintended pregnancies for which they have no recourse. This Supreme Court decision—not the leak but the decision itself—kicks off a tragedy that will unfold for years with the most vulnerable as its victims.