OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court apparently still has not identified the person who leaked a draft of the court’s major abortion decision back in early May.
Five months later, as the court begins its new term, the leaker’s identity is still unknown. Over the summer, reports surfaced that the Court was seeking access to the phone records of law clerks in an effort to learn how the opinion may have leaked out, Fox News reported.
In a recent interview with CNN anchor Chris Wallace, recently retired liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he has not been informed that the leaker has been identified.
“Within 24 hours the chief justice ordered an investigation of the leaker. Have they found him or her?” Wallace asked.
“Not to my knowledge, but … I’m not privy to it,” Breyer responds.
Wallace followed up by asking: “So in those months since, the chief justice never said, ‘Hey, we got our man or woman?’”
“To my knowledge, no,” again responded Breyer, who despite being retired maintains an office at the Supreme Court.
Other justices have also spoken about the identity of the leaker and the court’s investigation.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed earlier this month that he hopes the investigation into the leak will soon be completed.
“The chief justice appointed an internal committee to oversee the investigation,” Gorsuch said. “That committee has been busy, and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope, soon.”
At the time, the nation’s highest court admitted that a “copy of a draft opinion in a pending case” was made public, but added that it did “not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
Nearly four months after the leak, the identity of the leaker is still unknown, however.
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.”
Shawn Fleetwood published a report 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.