An investigation into the leak of a bombshell Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal constitutional right to abortion — weeks before it was officially released — failed to identify the culprit, the court said Thursday.
The failure to find the source of the leak was yet another embarrassing development for the Supreme Court, which on Thursday called the leak “one of the worst betrayals of trust in its history” and “a grave assault on the judicial process.”
Politico in May reported that a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito showed that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn its five-decade-old ruling in the case known as Roe v. Wade, which found there was a constitutional right to abortion.
In June, just as the leak report suggested, the Supreme Court in a majority opinion penned by the conservative Alito said there was no federal right to abortion.
On the heels of the leak, Chief Justice John Roberts directed Gail Curley, the marshal of the Supreme Court, to investigate who released the draft opinion to Politico.
“In following up on all available leads … the Marshal’s team performed additional forensic analysis and conducted multiple follow-up interviews of certain employees,” the Supreme Court said in a statement Thursday, which was accompanied by the release of Curley’s report on the probe.
“But the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence,” the court said.
In her report, Curley said that investigators had examined the court’s computer devices, networks, printers, “and available call and text logs.”
But “investigators have found no forensic evidence indicating who disclosed the draft opinion,” Curley wrote.
She also noted that her team “conducted 126 formal interviews of 97 employees, all of whom denied disclosing the opinion.”
“Despite these efforts, investigators have been unable to determine at this time, using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the identity of the person(s) who disclosed the draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. or how the draft opinion was provided to Politico,” Curley wrote.
The Supreme Court, in its statement, said that after the investigation was completed, the court invited Michael Chertoff, a former federal judge and prosecutor, and one-time secretary of Homeland Security, to assess Curley’s probe.
Chertoff “has advised that the Marshal ‘undertook a thorough investigation’ and, ‘[a]t this time, I cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures’ not already undertaken or underway,” the court said.
The statement said that investigators will continue to review some electronic data that has been collected for the probe, “and a few other inquiries remain pending.”
Curley, in her report, said, “To the extent that additional investigation yields new evidence or leads, the investigators will pursue them.”
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