Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Retired Justice Kennedy Calls Supreme Court Leak ‘Corrupt’ Act

May 20, 2022, 8:31 PM

Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy added his voice to those condemning the historic leak of a draft opinion that suggests the court will overturn its landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade.

The 85-year-old jurist said it was a “cowardly, corrupt, contemptuous act,” in remarks made public Friday at an event marking the 300th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The leak from the usually secretive institution “hurt” the court because the justices must be able to debate candidly in coming to their conclusions, said Kennedy, who retired in 2018 after 30 years on the court.

The justices are “so proud that our independence consists of the tradition of talking just among ourselves to have reasons why we decide the case,” he said.

Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Leaked: TOPLive Transcript

Kennedy urged judges across the nation to recommit to “rational, thoughtful discourse.”

“The law learns from bad acts,” Kennedy said.

The discussion with the former justice was taped in Philadelphia on May 6, said Stacey Witalec, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It was posted online Friday on the third day of the court’s tricentennial symposium.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Kimberly Robinson in Arlington at;
Lydia Wheeler in Arlington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Elizabeth Wasserman at

Seth Stern

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.