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Who Is Brandon Johnson? More on the Chicago Mayoral Challenger With a History in Organizing

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson says Chicago deserves a progressive mayor “willing to invest in people.”

Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson smiles and holds his arms out
Erin Hooley/AP/Shutterstock
Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson speaks to supporters during a public listening session at Principle Barbers, in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.

In the past 34 years,* there have been only three mayors in Chicago: Richard Daley, from 1989 to 2011; Rahm Emanuel, from 2011 to 2019; and Lori Lightfoot since then. Now a field of nine candidates are running to unseat Lightfoot next month and become Chicago’s mayor. Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson sat down to talk to The New Republic about how he’s looking to come out of left field and upset expectations.

Johnson, a teacher and organizer, has emerged among the top candidates in a race that requires the winner to cross a simple majority threshold. If no candidate reaches at least 50 percent in next month’s election, which is the likely case, the top two vote-getters will proceed to an April runoff. Johnson, whose candidacy garnered no opinion from more than 70 percent of voters as recently as last month, is already putting up a formidable fight.

Polling averages from the four most recent polls have Representative Jesús “Chuy” Garcia leading the pack at 20.75 percent, conservative Democrat and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas at 18.25 percent, Lightfoot at 15.2 percent, and Johnson at 13.55 percent. Johnson has also been endorsed by SEIU’s Local 73 and Chicago Teachers Union and officials like Representatives Delia Ramirez and Jonathan Jackson (son of Reverend Jesse Jackson). Such endorsements led Johnson to outpace every other candidate in fundraising over the final quarter of 2022, much of the money coming from unions.

One of 10 children in a household fathered by a pastor and carpenter, Johnson told TNR his upbringing was “where you learned, right away, how to lean on one another.” That lesson guided Johnson’s path forward, toward a politics that embraces that spirit.

“Chicago can be better with a progressive mayor who loves people and is willing to invest in people,” Johnson said. “The safest cities in America all have something in common: They invest in people.”

After obtaining his master’s degree in teaching, Johnson began teaching social studies in the Chicago Public Schools system. In 2011, he joined organizing efforts with the Teachers Union, helping organize the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike that earned teachers a 17.6 percent pay rise over four years. The strike also reframed education reform efforts to speak more directly to student concerns: class sizes; funding for music, art, and physical education; paid teacher preparation time; and less standardized test emphasis.

In 2018, Johnson ran against an incumbent to become a Cook County commissioner, member of a board overseeing the second-largest county in the United States. Since serving on the commission, he led the passage of a housing ordinance that took on rental discrimination against people with criminal histories. He also supported the Chicago Public Schools’ strike in 2019, appearing at a solidarity rally and writing newspaper opinion letters in support of striking teachers and staff.

Now, in a race where crime and public safety have steered the conversation, the progressive is rejecting the decades-long “tough on crime” stance. “This so-called toughness that politicians or insiders have just been recycling over the past 40 years has failed us—in the most dramatic of ways,” Johnson said. He points to Chicago being among the cities with the highest police spending per capita in the country, while schools and mental health facilities shutter. “What’s most disturbing, whether it’s Lori Lightfoot, whether it’s Congressman Garcia who has essentially copied and pasted the same so-called public safety plan of the person he endorsed four years ago, they’re using the same stale failed talking points and policies that have not kept our community safe.”

Johnson proposes investing more in areas like mental health and housing, but he also wants to fully fund year-round youth employment opportunities and create an Office of Community Safety. He is seeking deeper crime prevention rather than just crime response.

“This is not radical, right? The fact that employment and investment in people is considered a progressive idea, and is not just a humanitarian idea, tells you everything that’s wrong with the same old stale politics and policies that continue to make it to debates,” Johnson said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to debate failed policy. We should just retire any policy that has failed people for the past 40 years.”

Johnson is a man buoyed by hope while having plenty of reasons not to. He has taught in a school system where he says even his students wished he taught at a “good school.” And he has seen how the coldness of the world can leave someone. “My older brother Leon was my hero. He was very talented, but he had untreated trauma. He died addicted and unhoused. If the city and this country actually provided more support to mental health—if those resources were available for my brother, I do believe he would be allowed today to see his grandchildren.”

Yet he’s channeled those experiences into his candidacy. “The city of Chicago can be saved by doing what safe American cities do, and that’s what I’m gonna do as mayor: invest in people and the services that people rely on and those that actually do the work.”

With just over a month to go, the road ahead certainly is not an easy one. But Johnson has already convinced thousands that his vision is worth hoping for.

“I’m grateful that there is so much hope that we can provide the city,” Johnson said. “And to transform this city into a place where it’s safe for everyone … it’s very humbling to be in a moment where this could be a historical moment that people will look to for guidance as other cities look to do the same thing.”

* This post originally misstated the number of years in which Chicago has had only three mayors.

M&Ms Gets Rid of Candy Mascots After Fox News Wouldn’t Stop Complaining About Women Characters

M&Ms is putting the spokescandies on “indefinite pause,” after right-wing backlash to the women mascots’ shoes, weight, sexuality, and mere existence.

Screenshot/Fox News

Cancel culture has gone too far: After widespread right-wing backlash over being too “woke,” M&Ms are doing away with their decades-old talking candy mascots.

Earlier this month, M&Ms introduced a limited-edition package with all-female M&Ms, including a new purple female character, as part of a campaign to celebrate women in business. But on Monday, Mars Wrigley announced it was replacing the talking M&Ms entirely with comedian Maya Rudolph.

The decision comes after what is objectively the weirdest news cycle at Fox News. Host Tucker Carlson complained bitterly about the new character, apparently having nothing better to do than body-shame the purple peanut M&M. This comes almost exactly a year after he devoted an entire show to decrying how the green and brown M&Ms were “less sexy” since they changed their footwear.

Another panel on Fox News began by asking, “Will M&Ms still melt in your hands if M&Ms are trans?” (There were no trans or nonbinary M&Ms.)

All of the changes at M&Ms are clear attempts to capitalize on any social justice trends of the moment, but not only is Carlson oblivious, he somehow is not the only one taking changes to a cast of anthropomorphized candies so personally. Conservative author Brigitte Gabriel demanded, “Why does the left hate men so much?” British tabloid The Daily Mail also accused the candy brand of being “woke.”

The talking M&M “spokescandies” we know and love were first introduced in 1994. Over the years, they have appeared in countless advertising campaigns, including a classic Christmas ad.

The Monterey Park Shooting Was the 33rd Mass Shooting of 2023

There have been more mass shootings in America than days in the new year.

Eric Thayer/Getty Images
People near the site of a deadly shooting on January 22, in Monterey Park, California

The tragic Lunar New Year shooting in Monterey Park, California, is the thirty-third mass shooting in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Since a gunman opened fire in a dance studio Saturday night—killing 10 people and wounding 10 others—and attempted to attack another, there have been another three mass shootings, bringing the total to 36 this year.

There have been more mass shootings than there have been days in 2023.

The Monterey Park shooting is one of the worst in California’s recent history. The shooter, who has been identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, used a magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol with an extended magazine attachment, according to police. It is illegal in California to possess this type of gun with an extended magazine.

Police say they still do not know the suspect’s motive. Initially, because the attack targeted an Asian ethnoburb on Lunar New Year’s Eve, an important time for the East and Southeast Asian diaspora, many members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community feared that the shooting was the latest escalation of anti-Asian hate spurred by former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shooting has already spurred calls for tighter gun controls, a highly contentious topic in the United States. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but clearly they’re not foolproof. The issue, though, is not California’s rules; it’s the lack of regulation at the national level.

As The Washington Post noted, “The state’s strict gun laws are incapable of fully preventing gun violence in a country where gun ownership is widely considered a constitutionally protected right, firearms move freely between states with vastly different regulations and gun-control measures are dotted with exceptions.”

The Supreme Court ruled last year that Americans can carry handguns for self-defense, making it easier to acquire concealed-carry permits nationwide. Meanwhile, a gun manufacturer recently brought back the “JR-15,” a child-size AR-15 rifle.

Ruben Gallego Is Running to Unseat Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona Senate Race

The Democratic representative faces a potential three-way race in 2024, since Sinema announced her switch to independent.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Days after Kyrsten Sinema gallivanted around the Davos World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps with the world’s richest people, Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego officially announced his campaign to unseat the Arizona senator.

“If you’re more likely to be meeting with the powerful than the powerless, you’re doing this job incorrectly,” Gallego said in his announcement.

Gallego is a former Marine who served in the Lima Company, one of America’s hardest-hit units in the Iraq War. Elected to the Arizona state House in 2010, Gallego led the charge to grant in-state tuition status to veterans living in Arizona. He has served in the House of Representatives since 2014 and has been a chief advocate for veterans there as well.

In a 2024 race that has already generated much intrigue, Gallego will benefit from a groundswell of Democratic and even independent support against Sinema. Polls have shown massive Democratic preference for Gallego over Sinema; independent voters have expressed net favorability for Gallego at +31 points, while Sinema was net negative at -39.

Sinema’s recent decision to become an independent, however, complicates things slightly. One recent poll has found that a three-way race between Sinema, Gallego, and failing Arizona gubernatorial candidate and right-wing extremist Kari Lake could result in a slim Lake victory. The poll found Sinema garnering a meager 13 percent, with Gallego netting 40 percent and Lake edging by with 41 percent.

Of course, the poll is just one poll, and it’s only the dawn of 2023. Moreover, Sinema has not expressed her intentions for 2024, nor has Lake officially announced any plans. But there have been heavy rumors of her intention to run for Sinema’s seat, and she has urged her supporters to “mark your calendars” for January 29.

If Lake does run, the pressure is on Sinema to decide, first, whether she will run at all and then whether she will do so in the Democratic primary or mount a cynical, completely ego-driven campaign as an independent. Being a political independent is nothing to look down upon, but someone pretending to be an independent when their entire politics is driven by the interests of the rich and powerful is simply embarrassing.

It Seems George Santos’s Old Wiki Account Confirms His Drag Past (With Some Random Lies Thrown In)

The Wikipedia page for “Anthony Devolder,” one of the names Santos went by, says he won several drag pageants, starred in Disney Channel shows, and was in a movie that doesn’t exist.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Representative George Santos has called the reporting and photographic (and now videographic) evidence of him having done drag in the past “categorically false” and “outrageous.”

Now it seems one of his alternate identities has added even more evidence to the pile.

In a Wikipedia page rife with spelling and grammatical errors discovered by Politico Friday, someone with the name Anthony Devolder wrote on his user page that he “startted his ‘stage’ life at age 17 as an gay night club DRAG QUEEN and with that won sevral GAY “BEAUTY PAGENTS.’” The page was last updated in April 2011.

Devolder (one of Santos’s many aliases) also wrote that he was in a few television shows, including The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and Hannah Montana—as well as the 2009 film The Invasion, starring “Uma Turman,Chris Odanald ,Melllisa George and Alicia Silver Stone.” This movie doesn’t exist; The Invasion of 2007, however, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, does.

The Wikipedia user page reportedly contains information that aligns with Santos’s background, like his exact birthday. His office did not provide Politico with comment, but it’s tough, as with most of Santos’s lies, to see how he can even provide an alternative explanation.

Other accounts likely attached to Santos, like Georgedevolder22, have been active in more recent months, editing the public-facing Wikipedia page for then-Congressman-elect Santos, including edits to Santos’s personal life and removing the name “Anthony Devolder,” so the page would read George Santos. Numerous accounts linked to “Georgedevolder22” have been banned by moderators due to suspicion of their linkage to each other.

All the lies come after one weeklong chapter of the enormous book of lies Santos has written. Just this week, Santos has been revealed to have raised and stolen funds meant to save a homeless veteran’s dying dog and lied about his mom being at 9/11.

For the sake of any dignity Santos still has, and for the sake of reserving ink for members of Congress who didn’t lie about practically every single part of their lives, may the book conclude soon.

Read more at Politico.

March for Life Speaker Uses Damar Hamlin’s Cardiac Arrest as Proof Abortion Should Be Banned

Former NFL coach Ted Dungy thought he did something with this analogy.

Screenshot/March for Life YouTube

One of the keynote speakers at the anti-abortion-rights March for Life on Friday invoked football player Damar Hamlin, who is recovering from cardiac arrest, as an analogy for why abortion should be banned.

Buffalo Bills safety Hamlin collapsed during a nationally televised game on January 2 after he was struck in the chest, stopping his heart. He was hospitalized for nine days, and while he has made a remarkable recovery, his spokesman says the 24-year-old has a long way to go.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy somehow decided this was the perfect comparison to banning reproductive freedom. While speaking at the March for Life, the first since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Dungy argued that because everyone came together to hope that Hamlin would live, they should also hope that people won’t choose to get abortions.

There is, of course, no comparison. Hamlin suffered a medical tragedy. Abortion is a private decision. And it’s worth noting that in spouting off about innocent lives at risk, Dungy makes no consideration for the life of the pregnant person, whose entire world might be negatively upended by the arrival of a child.

Since the loss of the nationwide right to abortion, restrictions on reproductive rights have been growing ever tighter. This week alone, Kansas lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow counties and cities to ban the procedure, undermining a vote last year by state residents, and Arkansas introduced a bill that would let prosecutors charge people who get abortions with homicide.

This kind of twisted logic coming from Dungy isn’t a surprise. The former NFL coach is extreme in his views. He has for years advocated against LGBTQ rights, and this month spoke at an event hosted by a deeply anti-LGBTQ preacher. The day before coming to Washington, D.C., for the march, Dungy said that public schools are giving litter boxes to students who identify as cats. This is a widely debunked far-right conspiracy theory that stems from a refusal to let trans kids use the bathroom they want in school.

Kentucky GOP Club Blares Footage Related to Breonna Taylor’s Death to People Innocently Eating Their Dinner

The Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky held an event with one of the cops in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor. Diners unaffiliated with the event heard and saw graphic descriptions of the raid as they ate.

Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Frontline Action Hub

The Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky held an event this week honoring one of the cops in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor.

The event took place on Tuesday at Anna’s Greek Restaurant, a well-known local restaurant in Bowling Green, with a dining area and second-floor space where events can be held. There, former Louisville Metro Police Department Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers who conducted the no-knock warrant and raid that killed Taylor in March 2020, reportedly shared photos and blared video footage with gunshot noises.

The restaurant was open to the public at the time of the event. Guests, some of whom had made reservations, were not informed by management about the last-minute event happening upstairs. Guests, including people of color, there for their own dinner plans were then shocked by what appeared to be a bustling event celebrating an officer who was part of the raid that killed a Black woman in her own home.

Cayce Johnson, a guest at the restaurant that night, told The New Republic that the lights dimmed in the middle of their meal. “The woman comes back on and introduces Jonathan Mattingly, and everyone just roared upstairs—applause, cheers, and our mouths just dropped.” Sound carried throughout Anna’s, a retrofitted old church.

Johnson said Mattingly took the audience “back to March 2020,” before going through the presentation with photos and video footage with the sound of gunshots. “One of the members of our group was a war veteran and he has PTSD, so we were just in extreme shock.”

Katelyn Jones, another diner, told TNR the event also included a raffle and jokes about Covid-19. She said the event was initially so loud her father couldn’t hear anything at the table.

After realizing the event included Mattingly, Johnson and her friends sought out the restaurant owner, Vilson Qehaja. Qehaja responded to the group’s concerns by literally shrugging his shoulders, according to video footage. “I have no idea what’s happening, so,” he said as the group complained about the presentation on Taylor. “I have nothing to do with that, so.”

One of Johnson’s friends said, “Do you realize who that is? They killed somebody, a cop. He’s a cop … I made reservations, I came from Kansas City.”

“You’re being served, right?” Qehaja responded.

Guests say Qehaja later simply turned up the music.

“He was drinking his coffee and staring at us, raising his eyebrows, kind of intimidating us, like, ‘What are you going to do?’” Johnson said. Qehaja’s behavior mimicked what event attendees upstairs allegedly were doing, as guests claimed men from the audience glared down from the second-floor balcony at restaurantgoers, seeming to warn them not to disrupt their event.

An estimated 80 people reportedly attended the event.

Since the event, Mattingly has left a glowing review of Anna’s—and gotten into fights with people who say his presence disrupted their dinner. He did not explicitly deny reports of gunshot noises during the presentation.

“It is beyond reprehensible to subject anyone, let alone children and customers of African American descent, to such indecent exposure, graphic and upsetting images while they were attempting to enjoy their meal,” said the Bowling Green–Warren County Branch of the NAACP in a statement. “Such disturbing occurrences must not be tolerated especially in places of public accommodation. At a minimum, these acts are devoid of humanity and violate the most fundamental principles of human decency.”

TNR reached out to the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department. They had no comment.

The event took place despite earlier controversy about Mattingly’s presence. He was originally slated to appear alongside Agriculture Commissioner and Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Ryan Quarles at the Bowling Green Country Club. In a post from their now-removed Facebook page, the Republican Women’s Club said Mattingly was going to “share what really happened during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor, what he saw, and how the media’s narrative has been corrupted and twisted to fit into a false, woke storyline.” After the event garnered attention from the media and local political leaders, Quarles and the Bowling Green Country Club both backed out.

Attempts were also made to contact the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky and its officers, to no avail. Regina Webb, a Republican who ran for the state House of Representatives in 2012, claimed ignorance about the event to TNR. Webb, listed by the secretary of state in 2020 as vice president and director of the Republican Women’s Club, also said she was not involved in the club.

“A lot of people attending are actually people in positions of power in Bowling Green.… People are hesitant to put their name out there for fear of retribution,” Johnson said. “They thought that because they were going to secretly and quietly move the event, there would be no one who knew what it was, and no one to call them out.”

“We are calling them out.”

Federal Judge Rules DeSantis Violated the Constitution, Dismisses Lawsuit Anyway

A judge ruled that the Florida governor should not have suspended a Democratic state attorney—but the court will not reinstate him.

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Friday that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis violated the state Constitution and First Amendment when he suspended an elected Democratic state attorney last year, but the court would not step in and overturn that suspension.

State Attorney Andrew Warren sued DeSantis in August, two weeks after the governor suspended him for alleged “willful defiance of his duty.” DeSantis cited in particular a joint statement Warren signed with other elected prosecutors the day Roe v. Wade was overturned, stating “our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions,” such as abortion or transgender health care.

In his suit, Warren denied explicitly refusing to enforce laws and argued his suspension was political retaliation and a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. He sought a judge’s order to restore him to office and to bar DeSantis from taking further action against him.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle sided with Warren that his rights had been violated, blasting DeSantis’s argument that the prosecutor had neglected his duty by making blanket promises not to prosecute certain cases.

Mr. Warren’s well-established policy, followed in every case by every prosecutor in the office, was to exercise prosecutorial discretion at every stage of every case. Any reasonable investigation would have confirmed this,” Hinkle wrote in his ruling. In his opinion, there was “not a hint of misconduct by Mr. Warren.”

But, the judge said, he was unable to restore Warren to office. He argued that the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which restricts individuals from suing states in federal court, tied his hands.

“The Eleventh Amendment prohibits a federal court from awarding … relief of the kind at issue against a state official based only on a violation of state law,” Hinkle said in the ruling.

Not only is it frustrating to watch an elected official break the law and still get away with it, it is also worrying that this case will push DeSantis to go further. The Republican—and current favorite to face off against Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination—has gone to war with what he calls “trendy ideologies.”

He signed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and pushed the so-called Stop Woke Act, which restricts certain race-based conversations and analyses in colleges. That bill has been temporarily blocked from being implemented. This week, he banned an A.P. African American studies course in schools.

DeSantis getting away with suspending Warren without so much as a slap on the wrist could embolden him to take retaliatory measures against other public officials whom he deems too “woke.”

Kansas Republicans Introduce Bill to Ban Abortion, Even After Voters Said It Should Be Legal

Kansans overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to abortion in an August referendum. Now state Republicans want to overrule the will of the voters and ban it anyway.

A sign in the forefront reads "Stop the Ban Vote No August 2 on the constitutional amendment." Two people stand in the background wearing masks.
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in Kansas have introduced a bill that would allow individual cities and counties to ban abortion, directly overriding a vote last year where the majority of state residents chose to protect reproductive rights.

Almost 60 percent of Kansans voted in August to keep the right to an abortion in the state Constitution. The result was considered—and turned out to be—a bellwether for the fight for reproductive rights after the fall of Roe v. Wade a few months earlier.

But on Thursday, Kansas state Senator Chase Blasi introduced a bill that would allow cities and counties to enact abortion restrictions, arguing he was taking the issue to “a more local level.”

Blasi apparently subscribes to the belief “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If it becomes law, his bill would undermine the voters’ decision from August.

“The irony of this bill is too much,” Anamarie Rebori Simmons, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, told The New Republic. “The party that tried to remove fundamental protections from the state Constitution didn’t get the outcome they wanted when Kansans overwhelmingly supported abortion access. This is an attempt to blatantly disregard the will of the people. Abortion rights won in a landslide, including in the home county of the bill’s sponsor. Politicians serve as the voice of the people in the legislature, and Republican lawmakers should know better than to silence those they represent.”

Kansas allows abortion up to 22 weeks, but the state also has multiple rules aimed at discouraging people from getting abortions, such as requiring patients to receive state-directed counseling and to undergo an ultrasound before getting the procedure. The ultrasound provider must offer the patient the option to see the image.

Democratic state Senator Cindy Holscher slammed the bill as an attempt by “extremists” to “find another path” to increase restrictions on abortion and said the measure will likely go to court if it passes.

It’s not the only bill attacking reproductive rights: State Senator Mark Steffen also introduced a bill that would ban the prescription via telemedicine of abortion pills or drugs used to induce abortions.

Ashley All, a senior advisor for the reproductive freedom nonprofit Families United for Freedom, slammed the Blasi bill’s hypocrisy. “It’s important to remember that the amendment on the ballot in August specifically asked voters’ permission for politicians to further regulate abortion and voters said NO,” she told The New Republic. “These extreme anti-abortion politicians are ignoring the will of Kansas voters and attempting to eliminate our constitutional rights.”

Neither bill is likely to become state law. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly supports abortion rights and thus will probably veto them both should they make it to her desk. But the legislation is an indication that the attempts to limit reproductive freedom are only getting more intense.

This post has been updated.

After World’s Worst Investigation, Supreme Court Says It Can’t Find Who Leaked the Abortion Ruling

Here are all the holes in the Supreme Court’s effort to find who leaked the decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

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.