Supreme Court Says it Cannot Identify Leaker of Abortion Draft Ruling

January 19, 2023

The Supreme Court said Thursday that following a months-long investigation it has failed to identify the source of the leak of the draft ruling to overturn Roe v Wade and 50 years of the Constitutional right to abortion.

In a statement, the Supreme Court said its Marshal had reviewed forensic evidence and interviewed nearly 100 employees. Investigators 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.”

The Marshal’s report said it was unlikely the court’s computers were attacked by an entity outside the court.

The Court also consulted Michael Chertoff, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush Administration. Chertoff wrote in a separate statement that he had reviewed the investigation and concluded that it was conducted thoroughly.

“At this time, I cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures,” he added, although he did recommend several measures the Court could take to improve security.

The court’s announcement Thursday came more than eight months after a draft opinion in Mississippi’s challenge to Roe v Wade leaked on May 2. It would be on June 24 that the Court ultimately ruled in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, officially overturning Roe.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced an investigation into the leak on May 3, but the Court had said little about the progress of the probe before Thursday. 

The unprecedented breach in Supreme Court protocol is just one of the reasons that both Congressional lawmakers and Supreme Court experts have been calling for the Court to adopt a code of ethics. It is virtually the only court in the U.S. that does not adhere to any such set of rules or guidelines.

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