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U.S. Supreme Court officials are ramping up their search for the source of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
The nation’s highest court has taken a slew of actions since the leak, including requiring law clerks to provide cell phone records and sign affidavits, according to CNN.
“Some clerks are apparently so alarmed over the moves, particularly the sudden requests for private cell data, that they have begun exploring whether to hire outside counsel. The court’s moves are unprecedented and the most striking development to date in the investigation into who might have provided Politico with the draft opinion it published on May 2,” CNN reported.
“The probe has intensified the already high tensions at the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority is poised to roll back a half-century of abortion rights and privacy protections. Chief Justice John Roberts met with law clerks as a group after the breach, CNN has learned, but it is not known whether any systematic individual interviews have occurred,” the report added.
CNN anchor John Berman spoke about the breaking report on Tuesday morning.
“And this morning, we have a CNN exclusive. We have learned the Supreme Court is taking new unprecedented steps, the search for the person who leaked the draft Supreme Court abortion opinion that seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to three sources, Supreme Court officials are telling law clerks, Supreme Court clerks, to provide cellphone records while also requiring them to sign affidavits. Nothing like this has happened before. We are told that some clerks are so alarmed, they are exploring seeking counsel,” Berman said.
CNN’s Joan Biskupic provided an update on the Supreme Court’s investigation to identify the leaker:
First of all, remember, this is the most important case of this term, the most important case in many years: the potential to roll back a half-century of abortion rights, and privacy rights. Midway through the negotiations over this case, a draft document was leaked, as we all know, it was leaked from last February. So not only did the public see where the court was headed, to roll back Roe v. Wade, but also it so seriously disrupted negotiations among the justices in terms of where they were actually going to head by the end of June. Chief Justice John Roberts launched an unprecedented investigation four weeks ago, four weeks ago today. Apparently, that has made absolutely insufficient progress, I would say, and they have taken this new step to have clerks sign affidavits.
I’m not sure exactly of the wording, but there would be a denial of any responsibility — and also starting to lay the groundwork for obtaining cell phone data. Now, I should tell you that this private draft went to not only the nine justices, their law clerks — each has four apiece — and then probably about a dozen other people in the Supreme Court building, it goes both electronically and hand-delivered to the chambers. You know, a lot more people could have had this inside the courthouse, but then also if anybody brought it home, the potential for other people obtaining it is great. So they’re focusing on law clerks right now, but we don’t know — at least from the outside — whether it would definitely be a law clerk, it would be somebody else, a full-time employee, anybody else who came upon this, unlikely a justice.
The Supreme Court will soon deliver the official ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the highly anticipated abortion case that could overrule Roe v. Wade.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
“We, therefore, hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito writes in the document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court.”
Soon after Alito’s draft majority opinion leaked, it’s assumed there were at least 5 votes in favor of overturning Roe v Wade, leaving state legislators to weigh their own abortion policies.
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz also offered his opinion of who he believes the “leaker” could be.