Unsolved mystery: Investigation into Supreme Court draft opinion leak fails to produce perpetrator

An investigation has not yielded answers to the questions surrounding the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion last year — the probe has failed to uncover any perpetrator or determine how a media outlet obtained the draft opinion.

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization draft opinion published by Politico in May 2022 revealed that the high court appeared poised to overturn the controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision — the court did just that in its official opinion, which was issued in June 2022.

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” the draft and official opinions both declared.

But investigators have failed to determine how the breach occurred and who was responsible.

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“At this time, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up with Politico,” the Supreme Court Marshal’s report read.

“No one confessed to publicly disclosing the document and none of the available forensic and other evidence provided a basis for identifying any individual as the source of the document. While investigators and the Court’s IT experts cannot absolutely rule out a hack, the evidence to date reveals no suggestion of improper outside access. Investigators also cannot eliminate the possibility that the draft opinion was inadvertently or negligently disclosed – for example, by being left in a public space either inside or outside the building,” the report stated.

The report noted that some people admitted to informing their significant other about the draft. “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 noted.

“Investigators continue to review and process some electronic data that has been collected and a few other inquiries remain pending. To the extent that additional investigation yields new evidence or leads, the investigators will pursue them,” the report noted.

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