The Dobbs Leak, Part Two

Author: Lauren Leigh Rollins

Publication Type: Op-ed

Original Publisher: Medium

Link to Publication:

As I wrote in May, the identity of the Dobbs leak has been obvious all along. Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

What’s the best way to hide something? Still right out in the open.

Last May just after the Dobbs leak, the signs were clear immediately that it was orchestrated by Republicans. With such a small pool of possible suspects and the objective reality of the federal government’s investigative ability, discovery of the perpetrator was inevitable. Moreover, bound by codes of ethics that such a move would surely violate and ruining their otherwise bright careers, no one who could have done it would have. Unless…they had powerful assurance they wouldn’t be held accountable.

Or, that they wouldn’t be discovered at all. Or both.

This became even more obvious as so many notable Republicans came right out to express the kind of outrage and demand for discovery and punishment that was curiously ill-advised considering they still couldn’t know if it was one of their own.

Most people would rightly argue there are no facts upon which all Americans can agree. But there might be two. The first is that the federal government isn’t voluntarily forthcoming with factual information. This is especially true when there’s a potential scandal or obvious threat to the nation or its institutions. In those cases, it usually withholds information for very good reason.

This is why it should have been immediately curious that the notoriously circumspect John Roberts was quick to confirm the validity of the draft when it leaked. Surely, he of all people knew that it would be dangerous to any investigation to confirm or deny facts about evidence before it had even begun. This would most notably include the legitimacy of the draft itself. This is even more true given the certainty of widespread and vitriolic outrage to the decision that would follow.

With so much real harm on a hair trigger, the only reason to confirm that particular fact would be a political one. The only reason to outrage the majority of the country and potentially start a culture war (if not a real one of sorts) would be to get it over with — before a Democratic tsunami threatened to devour the projected red wave.

At the very least, this means the Chief Justice of the United States bowed to political pressure from Republican leadership to assist them in executing their playbook — whether he knew what it was or not.

The second point of no contention is that the government doesn’t publicly and timely admit failures. Often, they never do — even after they’ve been proven. This frustrates a lot of Americans on both sides of the aisle and breeds the very mistrust that is eating away at our democracy’s core. But it doesn’t do this because to admit error, weakness or impotence exposes the limits of our supposedly awesome power. This carries actual, existential risk.

Last week’s prompt, almost humble admission that the attempt to find the culprit had failed, then, was an alarming exception to that rule. On the heels of two failed impeachments, an actual attempt at insurrection, years of open fraud and theft by a former president, and a thus far inability to hold him accountable, our justice system really can’t afford to take any more public “Ls.”

In this context, the report’s shoulder shrug all but proves what may have sounded like a conspiracy theory before. The investigation was never going to uncover the perpetrator because those responsible for the conspiracy (as in, to commit crime) already knew who it was. A sham investigation, followed by an admission of total failure to end the nasty business was always the plan.

This means that in some back room or dark alley Republicans from at least two branches of government decided that weakening our institutions to the point of absurdity — both at home and abroad — was less important than manipulating Americans to game an election. In defending the process since the release of the findings, the third branch is implicated too.

It no longer matters who it was. What matters is, if any of this is even a possibility — much less an increasingly obvious likelihood — the separation of powers between the branches no longer exists. No accountability exists. And someone is guaranteeing it doesn’t and won’t — in violation of virtually the entire Constitution.

If we want to catch rats, those are the ones to chase. If we allow fear or decorum or corruption to stop that investigation before it even starts, a much more spectacular failure is already underway.

Here’s the good news though. This ‘conspiracy’ theory too can eventually be proven. Even more outraged at the government’s ‘ineptitude,’ Republicans responded to the report by vowing to investigate the matter themselves. Fantastic! With the House back in their control and a ready list of investigations begging for an addition, this will surely be a top priority.

But if it never quite makes the list, we’d better start believing them when they show us they won’t stop until our State has failed sufficiently enough to profit off being the only solution.

t’s time to stop asking questions we already know the answer to and hold the perpetrators accountable. Especially because they’re ‘above the law.’