Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) unveiled new legislation last that would hold future Supreme Court leakers accountable with a fine of $10,000 and ten years in prison should information about pending opinions be leaked. The legislation comes in response to last month’s unprecedented draft opinion that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
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In an interview with reporters, Cassidy explained that if the legislation, titled the Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act of 2022, were to become law, no one could be jailed or fined for leaking the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, but any profits derived by the leaked draft could be confiscated.
“There is a portion in there which seizes profit stemming from the crime. So the person who wants to do a book deal where they’re going to profit from what they’ve done, that would be affected,” Cassidy said, pointing out that media contributions and paid speaking engagements would also fall under this category.
“Whoever leaked this draft opinion and any future leakers must face the consequences of the damage they cause,” Cassidy continued.
Almost two months after someone leaked the draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court has discussed the unprecedented breach of trust that occurred.
Justice Samuel Alito authored the leaked draft, which was published by POLITICO. As a result, the decision issued on Friday was pretty close to the original draft.
However, the identity of the leaker is still unknown.
As soon as the May 2 leak occurred, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the court marshal to investigate the incident and figure out who was responsible. Roberts stated that the leak was intended to “undermine the integrity of our operations.”
“It will not succeed,” Roberts declared.
And he was right. Roe vs. Wade was overturned.
At the time and on Friday, Roberts did not agree to overturn Roe but established the Dobbs portion of the Dobbs decision, which bans abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi.
The Daily Wire reported yesterday that it “has repeatedly pressed the court as to what stage its investigation is at, more than 50 days after the leak, and whether the leaker has been identified. A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court has not addressed these requests for comment.”
“This leak was intended to intimidate the justices and threaten the whole institution of the Court,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley told The Daily Wire on June 27. “Now the Court is facing an all-out assault from the left with an assassination attempt on a sitting justice and elected Democrats declaring an entire branch of government ‘illegitimate.’”
“Thankfully, the leak did not change the outcome of this monumental case, but we need to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure it never does again,” Hawley continued.
The court may be waiting for the end of the term to divulge the leaker’s identity — if that identity has been uncovered. Or the leaker might opt to go public themselves, suggested Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.
Blackman believes the court has “no clue who leaked the document,” telling The Daily Wire that “the Supreme Court Marshal is not equipped to perform a full investigation, including cyber forensic work.”
“Her job focuses on maintaining security at the Supreme Court building,” he explained. “The FBI would be fully staffed to perform a competent investigation, but due to the separation of powers, Chief Justice Roberts does not want the executive branch getting involved. It would be problematic for people who work for Biden interrogating the Justices and the law clerks.”
The FBI did not comment on whether it is involved in the investigation, according to the Wire.
“I would hope that the Chief Justice is treating the investigation with great urgency given that the current clerks are nearly done with the term and he will soon lose whatever leverage he currently has,” Carrie Severino, the President of the Judicial Crisis Network told the Wire.
Further, she suggested that “pressure to get to the bottom of the leak may wane” now that the court has issued its opinion on Dobbs.
“Unfortunately, a failure to identify and punish the culprit will only incentivize future leaks — serving to undermine the functioning of the Court and potentially endanger the justices,” she warned.
The attempted assassination of Justice Kavanaugh at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, was one reason Senator Cassidy cited for unveiling the new legislation which would punish future leakers last week.
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Nicholas Roske, 26, admitted he was inspired by the leaked draft opinion, which indicated that the high court was about to overturn nearly 50 years of Roe precedent regarding abortion access.
“The attempted assassination of a sitting United States Supreme Court justice was a direct result of the dangerous and unprecedented leak. While the mainstream media may ignore this horrific story targeting a conservative justice, the American people want the leaker to be held accountable,” Cassidy stated.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) backed the bill, stating that “you shouldn’t receive a badge of honor or financial reward” but that“you should face serious penalties” for your crime. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) is also in favor of the bill, arguing that the leak was “done to intimidate justices and influence the outcome of cases.”