Supreme Court still hasn't found leaker of abortion ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

A pro-choice activist holds up a sign during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade May 3, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
A pro-choice activist holds up a sign during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade May 3, 2022, in Washington, D.C. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

The individual responsible for leaking the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade remains unidentified, according to a recently released report.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Supreme Court announced that its investigation “has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Last May, a draft opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson, which ended up striking down Roe by concluding that abortion was not a constitutional right, was leaked to the public. This is believed to be the first time a Supreme Court ruling was made known to the public before its official release. This led to condemnation from Chief Justice John Roberts, and an investigation was launched. 

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“The Chief Justice assigned the task to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and her staff. After months of diligent analysis of forensic evidence and interviews of almost 100 employees, the Marshal’s team determined that no further investigation was warranted with respect to many of the ‘82 employees [who] had access to electronic or hard copies of the draft opinion,’” the high court wrote in a statement

“In following up on all available leads, however, the Marshal’s team performed additional forensic analysis and conducted multiple follow-up interviews of certain employees.”

The Supreme Court also noted that the marshal and her team of investigators “will continue to have our full support” in their ongoing search for the decision leaker.

The report quoted Michael Chertoff, who was asked by Roberts to independently review the investigation, who stated that “there were important insights gleaned from the investigation that can be acted upon to avoid future incidents.”

“Throughout my review, the investigators were transparent, cooperative, and available to answer my questions about the process,” stated Chertoff.

“The Court investigators will continue following up on leads if more information is learned. In the meantime, the Court has already taken steps to increase security and tighten controls regarding the handling of sensitive documents.”

On May 2, 2022, Politico released a leaked opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, which indicated that the Supreme Court would overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe and the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The draft opinion leak caused outrage among pro-choice groups and activists, with a wave of protests and violence against pro-life churches and charities occurring in response.

This included demonstrations being held outside of the houses of Supreme Court justices and a security fence being constructed around the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

In June, shortly before the release of the finalized Dobbs opinion, a man was arrested near the house of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and was charged with attempting to murder the high court member.    

Shortly after the leak, Roberts denounced the leak as a “betrayal of the confidences of the Court."

At an event hosted by the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation last October, Alito said the leak made him and other members of the Supreme Court “targets for assassination.”

“The leak also made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination, because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us,” Alito said.

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