Investigators questioned the Supreme Court justices as they sought to track down the person who leaked Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, but did not force them to sign affidavits.
Alito said late last year that the leak of the draft in May 2022 made the “majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.”
Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley said in a statement on Friday that she “spoke with each of the Justices, several on multiple occasions.”
“The Justices actively cooperated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine,” she claimed. “I followed up on all credible leads, none of which implicated the Justices or their spouses.”
“On this basis, I did not believe that it was necessary to ask the Justices to sign sworn affidavits,” she said.
The statement from Curley comes after the Supreme Court released a statement Thursday saying that investigators could not figure out who leaked the draft to Politico.
A total of 97 individuals were interviewed in the probe, which focused primarily on “Court personnel — temporary (law clerks) and permanent employees — who had or may have had access to the draft opinion during the period from the initial circulation until the publication,” the report said.
Those employees were asked to sign an affidavit “affirming that he or she did not disclose the Dobbs draft opinion to any person not employed by the Supreme Court.” It appears that only the Justices were not asked to sign an affidavit.
“Some individuals admitted to investigators that they told their spouse or partner about the draft Dobbs opinion and the vote count, in violation of the Court’s confidentiality rules,” the report added.
The Marshal’s report said that investigators continue to analyze some electronic data that has been collected and that there are still some outstanding inquiries at this time.
“To the extent that additional investigation yields new evidence or leads, the investigators will pursue them,” the report said. “If a Court employee disclosed the draft opinion, that person brazenly violated a system that was built fundamentally on trust with limited safeguards to regulate and constrain access to very sensitive information.”
The report said that the following federal statutes were relevant to the investigation:
- 18 U.S.C. § 371 prohibits two or more persons from conspiring to commit an offense against the United States or to defraud the United States in any manner or for any purpose.
- 18 U.S.C. § 401 states that “[a] court of the United States shall have power to punish . . . such contempt of its authority . . . as . . . [m]isbehavior of any person in its presence of so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice” and “[m]isbehavior of any of its officers in their official transactions.”
- 18 U.S.C. § 641 prohibits the disposition “without authority” of any record or thing of value of the United States.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1030 prohibits intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access and thereby obtaining information from any department or agency or the United States.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1503 prohibits “corruptly . . . endeavor[ing] to influence, intimidate, or impede any . . . officer in or of any court of the United States . . . in the discharge of his duty . . . or corruptly . . . influenc[ing], obstruct[ing], or imped[ing], or endeavor[ing] to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.”
- 18 U.S.C. § 1905 prohibits disclosure by federal government employees of information that comes to them in the course of their employment that is known by them to be confidential, including the “identity” of “any person.”
- 18 U.S.C. § 2071 prohibits unlawful removal of any record filed or deposited with any judicial officer of the United States.