White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday refused to condemn the leaking of a Supreme Court draft opinion signaling the high court may be on the cusp of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Republican lawmakers have denounced the unprecedented leaking of the draft opinion, Ms. Psaki said the White House isn’t taking a position on the action. She said the administration’s view is that officials should focus on the opinion’s contents.
“I don’t think we have a particular view on [leaking], other than to say we certainly note the unprecedented nature of it,” she said. “And obviously it is up to the Justice Department to determine what, if any, action they will take.
“Our focus is not losing sight from what the content is in the draft and what is at risk here,” she continued. “While we have heard a number have raised concerns about the leak our focus is highlighting what that content in there would put at risk for women across the country.”
Pressed on whether President Biden thinks the leaker should be punished, Ms. Psaki dismissed the question as “a distraction.”
“That’s up to the Department of Justice and others to determine,” she said. “Our focus is not getting distracted or taking our eye off the ball about what is most important to people across the country, which is not the leak and the story of the leak. It is the fact that women’s health care is at risk for millions of people across the country.”
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Republicans have condemned the leak of the draft opinion to Politico, which published it late Monday. They have called for a criminal investigation into the matter.
“The Supreme Court & the DOJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary,” Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, wrote on Twitter.
“The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic’s institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion,” Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, posted on Twitter.
Democrats, including Mr. Biden, slammed the opinion and vowed to codify Roe V. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion without excessive government interference.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said the “the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans.”
Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, called the opinion a “five-alarm fire.”
In a matter of days or weeks, the horrifying reality is that we could live in a country without Roe. If this is true, women will be forced to remain pregnant no matter their personal circumstances. Extreme politicians will control patients’ most personal decisions. And extreme Republicans will have eliminated a fundamental right an entire generation of women have known their whole lives,” she said.