Inside the Scoop


This week’s Supreme Court abortion ruling scoop by Politico has changed the Supreme Court, journalism, and perhaps American’s confidence in their government.

As far as anyone can tell, this has never happened before. There has never been such a breach of the Court’s deliberative process before a final ruling.

The decision by the person or persons responsible for the leak of the draft opinion shows a level of political and public relations sophistication that adds to the argument that the high court has become politicized.

Why provide the draft to Politico when there are so many other choices? Probably a mix of the need for speed and a desire to speak directly to people in power in Washington, D.C. And it seems to have worked from that perspective.

The New York Times, is among several publications, analyzing Politico’s role in the story.

Pro Tips:

  1. When they say, “this is unprecedented in ‘modern history.'” It means: Even the oldest people on our staff can’t remember anything like this happening before.
  2. When they say, “We have been unable to independently confirm Politico’s reporting.” It means, we have no idea how they got this story and the only way we can provide the information is to quote them directly, which we hate to do. It’s also meant to imply higher journalistic standards on the part of the organization that’s been scooped. We would have this story, if we wanted to, but we didn’t feel like it.
  3. On the top floor of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. there is a basketball court. The justices and court employees refer to it as “the highest court in the land.”