Fifty years ago, however, the Court sprang another leak—two, in fact—in connection with the original Roe v. Wade decision.
A rookie writer named David Beckwith published a story in Time
asserting that the Court was about to legalize abortion,
a few hours ahead of the official decision.
On July 4, 1972, he noticed what he called “one of the strangest stories I’d ever seen” on the front page of the Washington Post.
It had no byline and quoted no sources by name.
But it contained an extraordinary number of confidential details
about a struggle inside the Supreme Court’s chambers over the right to abortion.
The story revealed that, while a majority of the Justices clearly supported a constitutional right to abortion,
Chief Justice Warren Burger, who opposed abortion rights,
wanted to hold off announcing a decision zuntil President Richard Nixon could fill two vacancies on the Court—
which Burger hoped would change the outcome.
Although no one seemed to pick up on the Post’s account, published on a national holiday, Beckwith took notice.
He decided to dive in and report out the story, interviewing more than a dozen Court insiders, including Justices and clerks.
A close reading of the Post story shows that it was leaked by someone with inside knowledge of the Court’s private deliberations.
It revealed the date on which the Justices had met to discuss the case,
and also disclosed that the Court’s reigning liberal, Justice William O. Douglas, was enraged by what he viewed as Burger’s delay tactics,
which he saw as an attempt to subvert the outcome.
Douglas circulated a memo describing the Chief Justice’s improper power plays to his fellow-Justices and their clerks.
it’s plausible that Douglas himself gave the memo to the Post.
“Douglas leaked constantly to the press, That was his modus operandi.”
He was a passionate defender of individual liberty and the right to a zone of privacy.
He’d written the 1965 decision supporting the right to contraception, on which Roe was modelled.
In scheduling his story, Beckwith had been guided by an anonymous source,
who asked him to hold off until after January 17th, when the decision was slated to be announced.
But then Burger unexpectedly delayed again:
he was about to preside over Nixon’s second Inauguration, and,
Beckwith surmised, he was so afraid to stand face to face with Nixon,
who opposed abortion rights,
that he postponed the Roe announcement until the week after.
Time, though, printed Beckwith’s article as planned, scooping the Court on its own decision.
But Beckwith said that not even the New York Times picked up his story.
One Time subscriber who did notice the piece was Justice Harry Blackmun.
He was the author of the Roe decision,
and he was furious that he had been preëmpted before he could announce the decision
that he had anticipated would be the apex of his legal career.
AltStore has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its launch in 2019, and the service has more than 300,000 monthly active users.
Nearly 6,000 of those users contribute to AltStore’s Patreon,
which brings in more than $14,500 per month and gives backers early access to new features.
AltStore is preparing for its biggest updates yet.
Users will soon be able to discover new apps to sideload directly through AltStore,
so they don’t have to wade through questionable download sites.
Optimizations for iPad are also on the way, and
Testut recently hired a longtime friend, Shane Gill, to improve AltStore’s documentation and work on developer outreach
AltStore mimics a feature of Apple’s Xcode programming software that lets developers test their own apps on actual iPhones and iPads.
That feature, which launched in 2015, was ostensibly aimed at students who want to dabble in app development,
but in practice it allows anyone to sideload apps without a $99 per year developer account.
AltStore does have some limitations:
Users can only install new apps if they’re on the same Wi-Fi network as the Mac or PC running AltServer, and
they can only install up to two apps alongside AltStore at the same time.
While users can swap out those two apps at any time, AltStore can only sideload up to 10 total apps per week,
and each app must be “refreshed” once per week through a connection to AltServer.
Blocking AltStore would require Apple to completely rework its tools or change its policies for developers, and
may not be worth the trouble amid regulatory pressure on Apple to loosen the App Store’s monopoly on app downloads.
AltStore has been Testut’s full-time job since 2019,
when he launched a Patreon campaign that gives supporters access to beta features.
In the United States, a bill called the Open App Markets Act has passed though the Senate’s Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support.
It would make sideloading a requirement for major smartphone platforms.
The European Council and European Parliament have provisionally agreed on rules that mandate sideloading as well.
Still, Testut is wary of any law that would make sideloading too easy,
as he features that major firms such as Facebook would pull their apps from the App Store
and sidestep Apple’s privacy protections as a result.