House Judiciary Committee to investigate leak of Supreme Court opinion after SCOTUS whiffs
FIRST ON FOX: The House Judiciary Committee is expected to investigate the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade after the high court’s formal investigation failed to identify the culprit, Fox News has learned.
Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said last year, when he served as committee minority leader, Republicans would investigate the leak of the draft opinion.
Now that the Supreme Court has come up empty, a source close to the committee said the GOP-led panel intends to probe the matter.
On May 2, 2022, Politico published a draft of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the major abortion case that would eventually overturn the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion at the federal level.
The unprecedented leak triggered protests across the country and at Supreme Court justices’ homes that continued for months.
Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak an ‘egregious breach of trust.’ The day after the leak, Roberts called upon the Marshal of the Court to investigate the situation and find the source who leaked the document.
Investigators conducted more than 120 interviews of nearly 100 employees, all of whom denied disclosing the opinion, the court said.
Sources told Fox News over the summer that the initial focus was on some three dozen law clerks who work directly with the justices. Those clerks were asked to turn over their phones.
According to the Marshal’s report, the investigation team has been ‘unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.’
‘The investigation has determined that is unlikely that the Court’s information technology (IT) systems were improperly accessed by a person outside the Court,’ the report said. ‘After examining the Court’s computer devices, networks, printers, and available call and text logs, investigators have found no forensic evidence who disclosed the draft opinion.’
The report notes that the Court’s internal checks and balances were more vulnerable with more people working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘The pandemic and resulting expansion of the ability to work from home, as well as gaps in the Court’s security policies, created an environment where it was too easy to remove sensitive information from the building and the Court’s IT networks, increasing the risk of both deliberate and accidental disclosures of Court-sensitive information,’ the report said.
Investigators are continuing to ‘review and process some electronic data that has been collected and a few other inquiries remain pending,’ the report said.
‘The Court investigators will continue following up on leads if more information is learned,’ said Michael Chertoff, former DHS secretary and a former federal appeals judge brought on by Roberts as a consultant on the court’s internal investigative methods. ‘In the meantime, the Court has already taken steps to increase security and tighten controls regarding the handling of sensitive documents.
‘Most significantly, the Chief Justice has also directed a comprehensive review of the Court’s information and document security protocols to mitigate the risk of future incidents.’
Fox News’ Shannon Bream, Bill Mears, Bradford Betz, and Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.