The Supreme Court has spent months investigating who might have leaked the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, and the results released Thursday can best be paraphrased as such: “IDK, bro.”
The leaked draft last May caused widespread outrage, both in and outside the highest U.S. court. Protesters took to the streets, demanding the justices protect the right to abortion, but Chief Justice John Roberts was more concerned about the sanctity of the court, calling the leak a “betrayal of the confidences of the Court.” He assigned the marshal of the court and her team to investigate the source of the leak.
After a months-long investigation, the team announced Thursday it is “unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”
The court also consulted Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of homeland security, who confirmed the marshal “undertook a thorough investigation.”
Except … maybe not so much.
Investigators conducted 126 interviews of 97 court personnel, many of which were reportedly short and not exactly in-depth. Employees were asked to turn over the call and text logs from their personal cell phones, but investigators found “nothing relevant” in the records. Investigators also examined employees’ search histories to see if anyone was essentially stupid enough to Google, “Is it illegal for me to leak a Supreme Court draft opinion?” It appears no one was.
Several personnel admitted they had told their partners about the opinion draft, which violates the court’s confidentiality rules. It is unclear whether those staffers will face disciplinary measures and, more importantly, whether their partners were also questioned as potential leakers.
What’s more, the marshal’s report doesn’t specify whether any of the justices themselves were questioned, focusing instead on “Court personnel” and “temporary … and permanent employees.”
There has been plenty of speculation about who might have leaked the draft and why, but one thing is clear: This investigation was never going to give us those answers.