The Supreme Court revealed on Thursday that despite a thorough inquiry, it had not been possible to determine who released an unpublished draft of an opinion that suggested the court was about to restrict access to abortion.
Investigation Leads Nowhere
The court stated in an unsigned declaration that forensic analysis and all avenues had been pursued, but the committee, to date, failed to locate the individual guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.
The report attached revealed the court was not impenetrable; some staff acknowledged they discussed the draft decision and the justices’ votes with family members.
Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley’s probe was primarily concentrated on the courthouse and folks who operate there; consequently, most actions people carried out using private devices at home or elsewhere were generally out of its purview.
The report also stated only permanent staff and the legal clerks who worked for each justice for an entire year were examined during the investigation, not the justices themselves.
When 97 court personnel were questioned, none of them admitted to being the leaker, according to Curley. She asserted it was improbable that the court’s IT infrastructure had been corrupted.
“Some employees admitted they spoke to their spouses or partners about the draft opinion and how the justices voted, a breach of the court’s confidentiality rules…” 😡
— Grizzly Joe 🇺🇸🇮🇱@CPAC 2023 March 1-3 *IN D.C.* (@GrizzlyJoeShow) January 20, 2023
No one admitted to releasing the information to the public. There was no forensic or other evidence that was available or gave a foundation for pinpointing any person as the origin of the material, according to Curley.
She continued by saying if a court employee leaked the draft opinion, that person shamelessly broke a system predicated on trust with few protections to control and restrict access to very sensitive material.
Michael Chertoff, who oversaw Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, was also consulted by the court.
The court should impose limits on the distribution of sensitive papers in physical copy, among other measures, according to Chertoff, who suggested this in a separate statement.
Supreme Court fails to unmask leak after monthslong probe
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After reviewing the probe, Chertoff came to the conclusion it had been done thoroughly. He said he was unable to think of any other useful investigative steps at this moment.
Republicans in the House have differing opinions.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, declared his intention to look into the leak. It was verified on Thursday by a source with knowledge of his plans.
In May, a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that suggested the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, was ready to reverse Roe v. Wade sent shockwaves through Washington.
It is exceedingly unusual for any indications of internal discussions to be released before a judgment is announced; the court’s operational processes are often conducted in strict secrecy.
A day later, Chief Justice John Roberts authorized an investigation after confirming the authenticity of the manuscript.