Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has ordered an investigation by Court staff of the source of last night’s leak of a draft opinion on the pending Mississippi abortion case. In doing so, the Court confirmed that the draft opinion was authentic, but cautioned that it is not final.
It is not clear whether a breach of the Court’s internal security can be prosecuted as a violation of criminal law. This is not a matter of national security, however much it offends the Court.
Readers may examine the draft opinion, as released last night by Politico, at this link:
Here is the full text of the press release issued by the Court today;
Yesterday, a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., provided the following statement:
To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.
We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.
I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.