OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Nearly four months after someone leaked the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, there’s still no update on the identity of the leaker.
“Former law clerks at the high court from both sides of the aisle were uniformly stunned when Justice Samuel L. Alito Jr.’s draft dropped online, but they differ broadly on whether the court should identify the culprit and if the leaker needs to be punished to counter future disclosures of controversial cases,” The Washington Times reported.
“And despite the magnitude of the breach of high court etiquette and procedure, some think the mystery may never be cracked — or at least revealed to outsiders,” the report added.
“If they haven’t identified the person by now, they aren’t going to make it public. I don’t think the public will find out,” said Carolyn Shapiro, a former clerk for retired Justice Stephen G. Breyer.
One Republican lawmaker recently speculated that the Supreme Court’s liberal-leaning justices are likely aware of who the leaker is.
Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana said he believed that at least some of the justices know the leaker’s identity.
“We all could probably agree that the justices that were appointed by Democrat presidents know who the leaker was,” he said. “What bothers me, it’s not only the undermining that it did of the institution and the trust factor that these folks have with each other,” it’s that now that the trust is broken, “it’s very difficult to restore it.”
Rosendale said he believes the person or persons who released the information will be revealed.
“There could be more people involved, and those people could go all the way to the top,” he said. “Don’t eliminate the judges because you know people, so there’s no way that would happen. No way. Think about it. Michael Sussmann is on trial right now for Russiagate. That happened six years ago. We’re only getting answers right now. I hope it doesn’t take another six years to get answers to what happened at the Supreme Court.”
The draft opinion was leaked to Politico in early May.
“The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right,” the outlet reported.
In the “Opinion of the Court,” Alito wrote: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“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,” he added.
Shawn Fleetwood published a report in The Federalist slamming Chief Justice John Roberts and argued that failing to find the leaker will “set a dangerous precedent.”
“Despite his tough rhetoric in condemning the draft decision’s leak, Chief Justice Roberts has yet to provide any details about whether the court’s inquiry has identified the individual responsible, let alone if the investigation remains ongoing. Given the long-held and respected inner workings of SCOTUS and the small pool of individuals granted access to draft opinions, it seems highly irregular that court authorities have not yet publicly identified the leaker,” Fleetwood wrote.
“Regardless of the investigation’s status, however, Roberts’ failure to provide swift and deserved accountability to the individual responsible sets a dangerous precedent, one where overtly political figures operating at the high court can leak decisions ahead of their release without fear of repercussion. While the court’s current conservative majority stood firm in the face of vile threats coming from left-wing activists this time, there’s no guarantee that such a trend will hold regarding other high-profile cases in the future, or that future justices will possess similar fortitude,” he added.
It’s possible the Supreme Court has identified the leaker and not made the information available to the public.