Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

always Appealing: Would Releasing Draft Opinions Make Oral Argument Better?

July 2022 Bar Bulletin

By Jon Collins

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware that someone leaked a preliminary opinion from Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. Barring an unlikely last-minute change of heart, the opinion — conspicuously labeled and highlighted as a “1st Draft” — would unequivocally eliminate the right to an abortion, upending 50 years of constitutional law.

And yet despite the undeniable gravity of the opinion’s substance, many prominent law professors, commentators, and journalists instead fixated over the impropriety of the leak itself. Conspiracy theories and opinion pieces sprouted faster than adolescent fan fiction; even SCOTUSblog, for...

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