Protecting a source is good practice for media entities; not so much for the Supreme Court. The highest court in the nation isn’t releasing the full details of their investigation into the publication of a draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito but says they’ve failed to locate the leaker.
In May, a leaked copy of the draft opinion from the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case went viral as the public learned that justices were considering overturning Roe v. Wade.
The result was pandemonium, with protestors outside the homes of justices, and right-wing media framing this as a situation where, if the final decision was different, SCOTUS would be seen as caving to pressure.
Sure enough, the final opinion of the court not only declared that the Roe decision overturned, but also threatened other rights, such as that of marriage equality, and any other human right that rests on the precedent of a right to privacy.
While advocates for the decision have claimed the leaker must be a ‘leftist’ who hoped to change the decision, the outcome appears to be more in line with the goals of an anti-choice individual.
Now, SCOTUS is saying they can’t figure it out — they can’t find evidence of any hack into their system, but also were unable to rule out such a possibility, and no one has confessed.
The report notes that at least 82 employees (in addition to the Justices) had access to either the hard copy or electronic version of the draft opinion, and that “126 formal interviews of 97 employees” were carried out, but does not say whether anyone who is not an employee of the court but in its proximity was questioned. It reads:
“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…If it was a Court employee, or someone who had access to an employee’s home, that person was able to act with impunity because of inadequate security…”
Ultimately, the report merely concludes that new security measures should be put into place to prevent recurrence, including better mechanisms for tracking printer use and increased limits on access to such documents, and acknowledges failure to find the guilty party in this case.