‘This Danger Will Only Grow’: Jonathan Turley Takes Supreme Court Apart Over Failure To Find Leaker

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley laid into the Supreme Court on Thursday after reports revealed that they had been unable to determine who leaked an early draft of their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The court released a report Thursday afternoon — and despite calling the leak a “misguided attempt at protest” and a “grave assault on the judicial process,” they said that investigators had analyzed evidence and interviewed anyone who may have had or seen a copy of the draft, yet still came up empty: “The team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Turley made it clear that he was not impressed, saying in a brief Twitter thread that he believed a failure to identify and punish whoever had leaked the draft would only lead to more leaks in the future.

“The Supreme Court’s report indicates that they cannot isolate the culprit among the over 80 possible suspects for the Dobbs leak. It is an admission that is almost as chilling as the leak itself,” Turley began.

…It will likely revive concerns over whether the FBI should have been asked to take the lead on the investigation. The Court is only a few blocks from the world’s leading forensic investigatory body…

— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 19, 2023

“It will likely revive concerns over whether the FBI should have been asked to take the lead on the investigation. The Court is only a few blocks from the world’s leading forensic investigatory body,” he added.

Turley went on to say that anyone who might feel compelled to leak a future decision would not have any reason to fear repercussions, adding, “Thus far, the culprit succeeded in not just leaking the opinion but evading detection.”

…The proposed changes in security are unlikely to meaningfully reduce the danger of such leaks. The nature of the Court’s work requires a free flow of drafts and memoranda. That is why we hope to achieve through deterrence what was not achieved through ethics…

— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 19, 2023

He then argued that the court’s suggested security changes would not do much to prevent similar leaks in the future — but it might discourage the justices and clerks from freely circulating memos and decision drafts as they have in the past.

Turley’s overall conclusion was simple: a failure to find and punish the leaker would only make future leakers feel as though they are justified in taking similar actions whenever they saw fit to do so.

“In this age of rage, this danger will only grow. Someone felt that they had license to leak. Some others may now feel that they have the impunity to do so,” he said.

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