Officials are inching ever closer to discovering who leaked a draft Supreme Court decision that signaled an end to federal abortion laws.
Five Supreme Court justices voted to strike down Roe v. Wade in what would’ve been a majority decision announced later this year. Instead, a law clerk or some other SCOTUS staffer prematurely leaked the decision in an effort to sow chaos and discord across the country.
Now investigators must ramp up their search tactics and venture into territory some say could constitute overreach. All law clerks working for Supreme Court justices must turn over cell phone records and sign affidavits as part of the investigation into who leaked the draft decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly met with law clerks as a group after the leak informing them they must turn over all cell phone records and sign affidavits.
The leaked draft was regarding a decision in the Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization case in which a majority of the justices were prepared to grant power to the states over abortion regulations.
Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly met with law clerks as a group after the break, according to CNN Tuesday.
The investigation process is still unclear as it’s not known whether law clerks were interviewed individually or as a group. Sources close to the nation’s highest court revealed some law clerks showed particular concern about the tactics used to nab the leaker and have considered whether to hire outside counsel.
Legal experts who became informed of the heightened investigative tactics made it clear that clerks may feel the need to seek independent counsel due to the intrusiveness of cell phone data searches and required affidavits.
“The affidavit may be a greater concern for the leaker,” George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley tweeted on Tuesday.
It theoretically wouldn’t be difficult for the leaker to cover his or her digital tracks, or they may have avoided using their cellphones altogether. However, by signing an affidavit the potential leaker could face federal charges if proven to have lied.
Chief Justice Roberts ordered the investigation on May 3 and instructed the court’s marshal, Gail Curley, to lead the probe.
While court marshals provide general security to the court, they also have the authority to make arrests over violations of state or federal law. However, any potential decision on prosecution related to the leak would likely come from the Department of Justice.
The leaked draft opinion in the case was written by Justice Samuel Alito and appeared to show a five-justice majority in favor of reversing the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Since the leak, conservative justices and their families have been forced to seek extra security as protestors riot in front of their homes. In the case of Justice Alito, he was forced into hiding and his location is currently unknown to the public.
The Supreme Court building also had to undergo added security measures, including a 10-foot tall fence erected around the perimeter.
Democrats across the board supported, enabled, and encouraged sometimes violent protests outside the homes of conservative supreme court justices.
Author: Ann Taylor