It’s looking more like the identity of the person or persons who leaked Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in May overturning Roe v. Wade will never be known, at least to the vast majority of Americans who have every right to know.
“Former law clerks at the high court from both sides of the aisle were uniformly stunned when Justice Samuel L. Alito Jr.’s draft dropped online, but they differ broadly on whether the court should identify the culprit and if the leaker needs to be punished to counter future disclosures of controversial cases,” noted the Washington Times on Thursday.
“And despite the magnitude of the breach of high court etiquette and procedure, some think the mystery may never be cracked — or at least revealed to outsiders,” the report said.
Carolyn Shapiro, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and a former clerk for the recently retired Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said: “If they haven’t identified the person by now, they aren’t going to make it public. I don’t think the public will find out.”
That said, a GOP lawmaker said recently he thinks the identity of the leaker has been known for some time.
“We all could probably agree that the justices that were appointed by Democrat presidents know who the leaker was,” Rep. Matt Rosedale of Montana said. “What bothers me, it’s not only the undermining that it did of the institution and the trust factor that these folks have with each other,” it’s that now that the trust is broken, “it’s very difficult to restore it.”
However, he went on to speculate that the person or persons’ identity will eventually be revealed to the public, as it should.
“There could be more people involved, and those people could go all the way to the top,” he said. “Don’t eliminate the judges because you know people, so there’s no way that would happen. No way. Think about it. Michael Sussmann is on trial right now for Russiagate. That happened six years ago. We’re only getting answers right now. I hope it doesn’t take another six years to get answers to what happened at the Supreme Court.”
Shapiro told the Times that because the landmark Dobbs decision was “such a high profile case,” she doesn’t believe there will be leaks in the future.
“This case was extraordinary in numerous ways,” she told the Times. “Since we don’t know who did it, we don’t know their motivation.”
However, Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project and a former law clerk to Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, said if no one is held to account then that makes it far more likely there will be additional leaks of preliminary rulings in the future. He also told the Times the leaker is not part of a large group.
“The universe of people who had access to the draft Dobbs decision along with the internal deliberation of the justices is limited to nine Supreme Court justices, each of their four law clerks and very few others. This should not be hard to figure out,” he told the outlet.
“The court must get to the bottom of this and it owes the public an explanation as to why it has not,” he added.