Supreme Courtroom Justice Questioned in Abortion Leak Inquiry
Anti-abortion protesters take part in the annual “March for Life” for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in Washington on January 20, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein Reuters
Each of the Supreme Court justices have been questioned — some multiple times — as part of an investigation into last year’s leak of a draft opinion on the ruling that eventually led to the court’s landmark abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, the leader of that investigation, was lifted Friday.
The statement came a day after the Supreme Court declined to say whether the judges were among the nearly 100 court clerks and clerks questioned in the inquiry. The court said the investigation failed to identify the person or persons who released the draft opinion, written by Judge Samuel Alito, to Politico in May.
According to Gail Curley, the Supreme Court Marshal who oversaw the leak search, none of the judges or their spouses were identified as potential suspects.
But unlike other respondents, none of the judges were asked to provide an affidavit denying they leaked Alito’s opinion, Curley said in a statement.
The June ruling overturned the Supreme Court’s five-decade-old decision in Roe v. Wade who stated that there is a constitutional right to abortion.
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“During the inquest, I spoke to each of the judges, several on multiple occasions,” Curley said in a statement.
“The judges actively participated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine,” said Curley. “I have followed all credible leads, none of which have implicated the judges or their spouses. On that basis, I did not find it necessary to ask the judges to sign affidavits.”
The court has nine judges. Eight of the current judges were in office at the time of the abortion ruling. Judge Stephen Breyer retired following the publication of the verdict. CNBC has asked a court spokesman if Breyer was among those interviewed by Curley.
Curley’s account of her failure to identify the leaker, released Thursday, made no mention of questioning the judges.
The report said Curley’s team “conducted 126 formal interviews with 97 employees, all of whom declined to disclose their opinion.”
Each of these employees was required to sign an affidavit denying that they disclosed the draft report.