GUEST COLUMN: Whoopsie! Didn't Mean to Hit "Send" On That Draft Roe Opinion
As one of the nine jurists entrusted with upholding the sacred traditions of the Supreme Court, the Court’s integrity is my upmost priority. My first obligation is always to ensure that the court earns the people’s trust, and I would never do anything to compromise that trust. Intentionally. But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of an accident.
So, time to come clean: It was me who leaked the draft opinion overturning Roe vs. Wade to Politico. Talk about a major whoopsie-daisy! I mean, hand up: I beefed it big time. Lotta egg on my face over here. Let this column be an unqualified — what’s that Latin phrase that means “I screwed up”? — mens rea. Issuing a total mens rea here.
Let me explain: I had two browser tabs open. In one tab, I was fine-tuning a draft opinion overturning the most contentious ruling in American jurisprudence with one of my fellow justices. In the other tab, I was shooting the breeze with an old law school chum who works for Politico. I’m going to protect the anonymity of both parties, but it’s important that you know that they’re both named Brett. You can see how I got confused! You should also know that it was 2AM and I had had a few beers, but I write opinions like that all the time and am always fine.
At any rate: I made a few changes to the draft and sent them to Brett #1 — hereafter “Justice Brett” — and sent Politico Brett a list I found called 101 Lawyer Jokes So Funny You Just Can’t Object to Them. Or so I thought. I now know that I accidentally caused a breach of court etiquette unparalleled in recent memory on perhaps the most explosive issue in American politics. But as I walked away from my computer to play a few quick rounds of Mario Kart, I didn’t know anything was amiss.
Almost immediately, my phone dinged. It was Politico Brett, writing: “IS THIS REAL???” I wrote back “In my experience, yes!”, which was a truthful answer: My 45 years in law have taught me that the difference between a lawyer and a vampire is that the vampire only sucks blood at night. Right away, my phone dinged again: “Can you verify?” I wasn’t totally sure what he wanted me to verify — that you can tell a child will become a lawyer if they have an endless appetite for baloney? That lawyers are bad at sex because all they do is lie? I googled and found that the jokes came from a blog called ScarryMommy.com, so I sent him the link and didn’t think any more of it.
Honestly, the response from Justice Brett is what made me realize something was wrong. He wrote back: “Yo Sam you hilarious dis shit is so funny I boofed my Bud Light up through my nose 🤣🤣🤣!!!” I was perplexed. I thought Justice Brett and I had a relationship of mutual respect — was he questioning my competence as a jurist? I only realized what had happened when he sent a second message: “Dat one about no Irish lawyers because they can’t pass da bar made me LITERALLY shit my pants 😆💩!!” That’s when I went into my “sent” box and discovered my mistake.
Welp, what’s done is done! No use crying over spilt milk. I do absolutely regret immolating whatever remnants of trust and rectitude still existed on the Court, and simultaneously attaching a taint of impropriety to what will surely be the signature ruling of this era in jurisprudence, but hey: Pobody’s nerfect (that’s another one I got from ScaryMommy.com!). When I explained the goof-up to my staff this morning (that was a weird meeting!), they informed me that Gmail has an “undo send” button, which is a piece of information that I will duly consider. Though, for the record, I’m on Hotmail.
From this point forward, I will redouble my efforts to strengthen the Court’s integrity. And that especially applies to being extra-diligent about whom I’m contacting when I send an e-mail, because I have to confess: In the course of attempting to contact Jeff Maurer to get this column published, I accidentally sent drafts to Joe Mauer the baseball player and Jeff Foxworthy the comedian. Get it together, Sam! But I vow to buttress the Court’s reputation by becoming an exemplar of meticulousness. Though my first priority is to clean out my Amazon Cloud drive, because I left my phone in a cab this morning and whoever found it can get in there and see all my shit.