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Surprise Update In Supreme Court Leak Investigation

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In May 2022, the United States Supreme Court will examine the Dobbs decision, which refers to Roe v. Wade, the contentious earlier SCOTUS ruling that included abortion rights. During the case’s discussions, and prior to any conclusion being made public, Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion was leaked in an extraordinary breach of SCOTUS tradition. Never before had such a leak occurred, and the nature of the controversial debates prompted a tremendous response and reaction from those who wished to maintain the prior view and verdict.

Never-before-seen riots and protests outside the residences of SCOTUS justices led to the implementation of new procedures, and the SCOTUS, which is meant to answer solely to the U.S. Constitution and not to political parties, was caught in a political maelstrom. The Judicial branch of the U.S. government was designed to be apolitical, and the leak and subsequent protests undermine this assumption.

Important to the demonstrations was the prior judgment declaring abortion rights to be grounded in the Constitution and consequently a federal matter. Alito’s leaked current SCOTUS decision refutes this, stating that the Constitution does not allow for such rights and hence abortion legality problems should be returned to the states to be handled by each state according to its particular jurisdiction.

The inquiry into the leak itself and the person or individuals responsible for the breach has been ongoing up until the present day.

Thursday, Townhall reported that the nine-month inquiry into who leaked a draft opinion was inconclusive, raising even more doubts about who was responsible for the extraordinary breach of trust at the Supreme Court.

“In May 2022, this Court suffered one of the worst breaches of trust in its history: the leak of a draft opinion. The leak was no mere misguided attempt at protest. It was a grave assault on the judicial process. To meet our obligations as judges, we accept submissions from parties and amici, we engage advocates at oral argument, and we publish explanations of our final decisions. All of this we do in the open. Along the way, though, it is essential that we deliberate with one another candidly and in confidence. That phase of the judicial process affords us an opportunity to hone initial thoughts, reconsider views, persuade one another, and work collaboratively to strengthen our collective judgment. It is no exaggeration to say that the integrity of judicial proceedings depends on the inviolability of internal deliberations,” the Supreme Court released in a statement.

“For these reasons and others, the Court immediately and unanimously agreed that the extraordinary betrayal of trust that took place last May warranted a thorough investigation. The Chief Justice assigned the task to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and her staff,” the statement continued. “After months of diligent analysis of forensic evidence and interviews of almost 100 employees, the Marshal’s team determined that no further investigation was warranted with respect to many of the ’82 employees [who] had access to electronic or hard copies of the draft opinion.’ Marshal’s Report of Findings & Recommendations 11 (Jan. 19, 2023). In following up on all available leads, however, the Marshal’s team performed additional forensic analysis and conducted multiple follow-up interviews of certain employees. But the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Friday afternoon, Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley, who was assigned by Chief Justice John Roberts to investigate the leak, released an additional statement regarding interviews with Justices.

“During the course of the investigation, I spoke with each of the Justices, several on multiple occasions. The Justices actively cooperated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine. I followed up on all credible leads, none of which implicated the Justices or their spouses. On this basis, I did not believe that it was necessary to ask the Justices to sign sworn affidavits,” Curley said.

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