game theory and Dobbs leaks

Pursuing comments section on some conservative sites regarding the declaration that — we couldn’t find the culprit — who leaked the Dobbs decision, I am astounded by the absolute certainty they have (and we saw it with, I think it was either Senator Cruz or Graham, in making the claim as a statement of fact with the answer on why they think so that “I’m not an idiot”) that it came from a liberal clerk or justice with the intent on pressuring A change. And I have no idea — maybe they are right — but it is the logic for their reasoning that falls apart. I see the comparison to a Hail Mary pass to change the outcome — not at all likely but the only thing that could go. But game theory works against this. At that juncture, the Dobbs decision was not written in stone, and Chief Justice Roberts was still scrambling to find a “center” where none existed. The only chance of maintaining Roe was for him to be able to do so. The leak foreclosed the possibility, as it would bring to bear the impression that any decision to change would be coming from public pressure.

The more logical reason for leaking from a liberal justice employee is simple astonishment, and inability to maintain a secret for the momentous decision. The problem there is that that would be the same reason for a conservative justice employee. Hell — maybe the reporter got the news from both sides, and the only difference was the tone of voice — forlorn versus jubilant.

On the football metaphor, as a “game changer” attempt, I am reminded of the first Monday Night Football game of the season where the Denver Broncos ended the game with a long long long field goal, analytics suggest a 2 percent chance of succeeding, versus an attempted fourth down pass, analytics suggest a 40-something percent chance with a quarterback theoretically signed to a lucrative enough contract to up that percentage and to at least set up a field goal with a high likelihood of going in. Peyton Manning’s dry comment was “I like the field goal approach, because the Hail Mary always resulted in my third interception off the day.”

Meanwhile I see a dishonest headline at The Nation. “The institution whose members claim to have the power to see into the minds of dead people couldn’t figure out who leaked the Dobbs draft.”. That is an obnoxious take. Though last I saw in Supreme Court analysis, Pollit gave the aside that ” we need to do more of that” when Senator Flake delayed the Kavanaugh confirmation after being harrangued in the elevator — something I doubt she would think well of if politics were reversed and for that matter supports the conservative comment stream on the Dobbs leaker.

My somewhat cynical take is that maybe Roberts would just as soon let this pass and get swept under the rug, a quick whispered “don’t do this again” to anyone he may strongly suspect but can’t nail down.

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