SCOTUS Hasn’t Determined Who Disclosed Draft of Abortion Decision

SCOTUS Still Doesn't Know Who Leaked Abortion Draft Opinion

( – In May 2022, someone leaked a draft opinion of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, a highly controversial case that eventually overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and returned the question of the legality of abortion to the states. POLITICO pushed the document. The document’s disclosure was such an egregious violation of procedure and a breach of trust that the incident sparked a months-long investigation to find the person responsible. This task was placed in the hands of the Marshal of the Supreme Court, Gail Curley, and her staff. On January 19, her office released a report which revealed they could not find the culprit.

Over the last several months since the breach, the court marshal’s team analyzed available forensic evidence and carried out nearly 100 interviews with employees, including the nine Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justices. Despite their best efforts, the report revealed that the team hasn’t been able to come to a conclusion on who the person responsible might be. They are still continuing to investigate what evidence they do have.

The Marshall’s office also spoke with Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, regarding the investigators’ review. He agreed that the investigation had likely been exhausted and could not point out another tactic for investigators to take. He did, however, have a few security suggestions that the court can implement to help prevent future incidents like this one, such as:

  • restricting the movement of documents by both physical and email
  • limiting access to sensitive documents on external mobile devices
  • Employing information rights management tools to control the flow of these documents

Investigators have ruled out the possibility of someone hacking into the court’s system. However, they haven’t ruled out the prospect that someone left the draft opinion in a public space where the document was then obtained.

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