Silence on Dobbs Leak Undermines Supreme Court
Chief Justice John Roberts is said to see defending the Supreme Court as an institution as pivotal to his role on it.
On its face then, the silence of the Supreme Court some two months after Justice Roberts announced an investigation into what he termed an “egregious breach”—the assault on the institution of the Court that was the leak of the draft Dobbs opinion that would prevail, returning the question of abortion to its rightful place within the states—is itself an egregious breach.
As the Associated Press recently reported, the Court is at present mum on whether it’s still even investigating the leak, as well as on a host of other basic questions about the probe.
There were already glaring outstanding questions regarding those few elements of the investigation to which we were privy.
For example, we do not know why the marshal of the Supreme Court was particularly well-equipped to lead it, nor the resources the marshal was bringing to bear.
We do not know what the probe entails, or entailed, beyond the fact perhaps that rankled staff at the Court leaked that it was asking of clerks that they provide cell phone records and sign affidavits in connection with it, and that reportedly the marshal obtained electronic devices “from some permanent employees who work closely with the justices.”
We do not know whether the Court will publicly announce the findings of its investigation in whole or part—starting with who the leaker was—nor the punishment the leaker will face, and the steps the Court will take to ensure such a leak never happens again.
Now the universe of people who could have obtained and leaked the opinion—the leaker described as “a person familiar with the court’s proceedings” in the Dobbs case—is small.
If the Court does not by now know who leaked the opinion, it would seem to constitute a breathtaking display of incompetence.
If the Court does know who leaked the opinion, yet for whatever reason is sitting on its findings, it would seem to constitute a breathtaking display of politics.
That’s because, on the merits, the silence is indefensible.
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