Investigative “team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Just a few days ago I noted that SCOTUS Investigation Into Abortion Leak Seems A Mess.
And what a mess it turned out to be. NBC News reports:
The Supreme Court on Thursday announced that it has been unable to identify the person who leaked an unpublished draft of an opinion indicating the court was poised to roll back abortion rights.
In an unsigned statement, the court said that all leads had been followed up and forensic analysis performed, but “the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Here’s the court’s statement accompanying the SCOTUS full Report (emphasis added):
In May 2022, this Court suffered one of the worst breaches of trust in its history: the leak of a draft opinion. The leak was no mere misguided attempt at protest. It was a grave assault on the judicial process. To meet our obligations as judges, we accept submissions from parties and amici, we engage advocates at oral argument, and we publish explanations of our final decisions. All of this we do in the open. Along the way, though, it is essential that we deliberate with one another candidly and in confidence. That phase of the judicial process affords us an opportunity to hone initial thoughts, reconsider views, persuade one another, and work collaboratively to strengthen our collective judgment. It is no exaggeration to say that the integrity of judicial proceedings depends on the inviolability of internal deliberations.
For these reasons and others, the Court immediately and unanimously agreed that the extraordinary betrayal of trust that took place last May warranted a thorough investigation. The Chief Justice assigned the task to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and her staff. After months of diligent analysis of forensic evidence and interviews of almost 100 employees, the Marshal’s team determined that no further investigation was warranted with respect to many of the “82 employees [who] had access to electronic or hard copies of the draft opinion.” Marshal’s Report of Findings & Recommendations 11 (Jan. 19, 2023).
In following up on all available leads, however, the Marshal’s team performed additional forensic analysis and conducted multiple follow-up interviews of certain employees. But the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence. Id., at 17. A public version of the Marshal’s report is attached.
Recently, this Court consulted Michael Chertoff. Mr. Chertoff is a former Secretary of Homeland Security, Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of Justice, and U. S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. We invited Mr. Chertoff to assess the Marshal’s investigation. He 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. Statement from Michael Chertoff 1 (2023). A copy of Mr. Chertoff’s statement is attached.
The Marshal reports that “[i]nvestigators continue to review and process some electronic data that has been collected and a few other inquiries remain pending.” Marshal’s Report 2. “To the extent that additional investigation yields new evidence or leads, the investigators will pursue them.” Ibid. The Marshal and her team will continue to have our full support.
MORE TO FOLLOW
Much of the statement seems focused on deflecting criticism of the Marshal. But Jonathan Turley is right, SCOTUS should have turned to the pros right away. As in immediately.
…It will likely revive concerns over whether the FBI should have been asked to take the lead on the investigation. The Court is only a few blocks from the world's leading forensic investigatory body…
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 19, 2023
We have conspiracy theories from BlueAnon:
I told everybody, from the very beginning, that if the Dobbs leaker turned out to be a Republican, the Supreme Court would somehow never find who did it.
Welp, the report's out and, what do you know, they don't know who did it.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) January 19, 2023
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