Supreme Court justices did not sign affidavits as part of a months-long investigation that failed to determine who leaked a draft version of the court’s decision that overturns Roe v. Wade to Politico last year.
Gail A Curley, the court marshal, revealed this detail in a brief statement on Friday.
“During the course of the investigation, I spoke with each of the judges, several on several occasions,” she wrote. “The judges actively collaborated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine. I followed up on every credible lead, none of which involved the judges or their spouses.
“On this basis, I did not believe it was necessary to ask the judges to sign affidavits.”
In a statement announcing a lack of progress in the investigation, the court said the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was “one of the worst breaches of trust in its history” and “a serious attack on the judicial process,” but the person who provided the draft to a pair of reporters for the Washington, DC-based publication has yet to be identified despite Marshal’s best efforts.
“The team has to date not been able to identify a responsible person by a preponderance of the evidence,” the court said. “To the extent further investigation provides new evidence or leads, investigators will pursue them. The marshal and her team will continue to have our full support.”
In a statement, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whom Chief Justice John Roberts hired as a consultant to review the investigation, said the marshal and her team “conducted a thorough investigation within their legal authority.”
“During my review, the investigators were transparent, cooperative and available to answer my questions about the process. At this time, I cannot identify any further useful investigative measures, he said.
Chertoff said Chief Justice Roberts has also ordered a “comprehensive review of the court’s information and document security protocols to reduce the risk of future incidents”.
The 19-page report revealed that the Marshals investigation determined that it was “unlikely” that the leak was caused by an external person breaking into the Supreme Court’s IT systems. But when asked whether someone with legitimate access to the systems was responsible, the report said a technical investigation did not lead to the identification of a suspect.
“After examining the court’s computer devices, networks, printers and available call and text logs, investigators have found no forensic evidence indicating who disclosed the draft statement,” the report said.
During the investigation, the marshal and her aides interviewed 97 people with access to the court’s systems, with some people speaking to investigators more than once for a total of 126 interviews.
“Despite these efforts, at this time, using a preponderance of the evidence standard, investigators have been unable to determine the identity of the person(s) who disclosed the draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. or how the draft statement was delivered to Politico. Investigators are continuing to review and process some electronic data that has been collected, and a few other inquiries remain, the report said. “To the extent further investigation provides new evidence or leads, investigators will pursue them.”