The US Supreme Court’s search for the person who leaked the draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case that overturned Roe v. Wade has yielded no credible suspects.
The leak was no mere misguided attempt at protest. It was a grave assault on the judicial process … It is no exaggeration to say that the integrity of judicial proceedings depends on the inviolability of internal deliberations.US Supreme Court Report
Despite the strong words from the Supreme Court, it appears the investigation into the leak involved no subpoenas, raids, or other aggressive investigatory tactics.
According to the findings of a report published by the Supreme Court, the court lacked the ability to carefully control and track the distribution of printed drafts, which provided ample opportunities for leak.
The report explained that the court did not implement such basic security measures as networking all printers so that they could be monitored or even preserving print logs.
The report includes a one page summary, unsigned, but representing the full Supreme Court dated January 19th, 2023, as well as the detailed report from the Office of Gail Curley, the Marshall of the Supreme Court, and a one page review of the Marshall’s review from the Chertoff Group (the consulting firm of Judge and former Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff).
You can read the full report here.
The Marshall’s investigation narrowed the scope of people who had access to the draft opinion to the judges themselves and 82 additional court personnel.
The investigation consisted of voluntary interviews of these persons as well as analysis of forensic evidence. The analysis of IT logs and printed materials put a spotlight on the insufficient record-keeping procedures necessary to preserve crucial chain of custody information.
The report does not mention the use of any aggressive investigatory methods such as the use of subpoenas or raids to search the private residences or private electronic devices of any of the 82 staff members who had access to the draft opinion. Instead, the court collected only court-issued devices and accessed court networks and printers but not the private devices of any of the people with access to the opinion.
The report blamed some of the loose security on policies of working from home during the pandemic.
The pandemic and resulting expansion of the ability to work from home, as well as gaps in the Court’s security policies, created an environment where it was too easy to remove sensitive information from the building and the Court’s IT networks, increasing the risk of both deliberate and accidental disclosures of Court-sensitive information.”
Last year, media outlets reported rumors that the January 6th committee would subpoena the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to retrieve her personal text messages with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows discussing the day’s events.
Just yesterday, a federal judge confirmed that Trump White House official Peter Navarro will face criminal prosecution for refusing a congressional subpoena surrounding the January 6th politically motivated investigation of President Donald Trump.
It is unclear whether the Marshall’s investigation has the power to issue Subpoenas to conduct its investigation, but the report did not rely on any subpoenaed evidence or any personal information from any of the 82 people who had access to the draft opinion.