Supreme Court Releases Results Of Probe Into Leak Of Abortion Decision

By Bill Galluccio

January 19, 2023

Activists Continue To Gather Outside Supreme Court After Historic Overturning Of Roe v. Wade
Photo: Getty Images

The United States Supreme Court was unable to determine who leaked a draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization to Politico. The leaked opinion, which overturned Roe v. Wade and removed constitutional protections for women seeking abortions, sparked nationwide protests.

The Office of the Marshal of the Supreme Court conducted the eight-month investigation, which included 126 interviews with 97 personnel. Investigators determined that at least 82 people had access to hard or electronic copies of the opinion, which was authored by Justice Samual Alito.

"The investigators searched all available logs for evidence of who handled the draft majority opinion after circulation. A few circumstances justified closer inspection, which was conducted but did not result in any solid leads as to the identity of who may have disclosed the document," Marshal Gail A. Curley wrote.

The document details loose security practices, especially following the coronavirus pandemic. The report details several instances where employees admitted to disclosing private information about cases with their spouses. Several said they did not realize speaking to their spouse was a violation of court policy.

"Some individuals admitted to investigators that they told their spouse or partner about the draft Dobbs opinion and the vote count, in violation of the Court's confidentiality rules. Several personnel told investigators they had shared confidential details about their work more generally with their spouses, and some indicated they thought it permissible to provide such information to their spouses. Some personnel handled the Dobbs draft in ways that deviated from their standard process for handling draft opinions," the report said.

Investigators were unable to find any evidence proving who leaked the opinion but said they are still following up on several leads.

"At this time, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up with Politico. No one confessed to publicly disclosing the document and none of the available forensic and other evidence provided a basis for identifying any individual as the source of the document."

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