House Judiciary Committee to investigate leak of Supreme Court opinion after SCOTUS odors

FIRST IN FOX: The House Judiciary Committee is expected to investigate the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision that marked the reversal of Roe v. Wade after the formal high court investigation failed to identify the culprit, Fox News has learned.

Committee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said last year, when he served as the committee’s minority leader, that Republicans would investigate the leak of the draft opinion.

Now that the Supreme Court has been emptied, a source close to the committee said the GOP-led panel intends to look into the matter.

SUPREME COURT INVESTIGATION FAILS TO IDENTIFY LEAK IN DOBBS DRAFT DECISION

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will investigate how a draft of the Supreme Court opinion was leaked after the court said it could not determine who did it.
(Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On May 2, 2022, Politico published a draft of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Organization, the leading abortion case that would eventually overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion at the federal level.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Supreme Court awaiting Dobbs' ruling.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Supreme Court awaiting Dobbs’ ruling.
(Joshua Comins/Fox News)

The unprecedented leak sparked protests across the country and at the homes of Supreme Court justices that continued for months.

Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak an “egregious breach of trust.” The day after the leak, Roberts asked the court bailiff to investigate the situation and find the source who leaked the document.

FLASHBACK: IDENTITY OF DRAFT ABORTION DECISION REMAINS A MYSTERY AS SUPREME COURT ENDS ITS TERM

Investigators conducted more than 120 interviews with nearly 100 employees, all of whom denied disclosing the opinion, the court said.

Sources told Fox News over the summer that the initial focus was on about three dozen paralegals who work directly with judges. Those employees were asked to hand over their phones.

Chief Justice John Roberts before President Biden delivers his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress in the US Capitol on March 1, 2022 in Washington.

Chief Justice John Roberts before President Biden delivers his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress in the US Capitol on March 1, 2022 in Washington.
(Julia Nikhinson-Pool/Getty Images)

According to the sheriff’s report, the investigative team “has been unable to identify a person responsible because of a preponderance of the evidence.”

“The investigation has determined that it is unlikely that a person outside the Tribunal had improperly accessed the Tribunal’s information technology (IT) systems,” the report said. “After examining the Court’s available computing devices, networks, printers, and call and text message records, investigators have found no forensic evidence revealing the draft opinion.”

The report notes that the Court’s internal checks and balances were more vulnerable with more people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic and the resulting expansion of the ability to work from home, as well as gaps in the Court’s security policies, created an environment in which it was all too easy to remove sensitive information from the Court building and IT networks. , which increased the risk of both deliberate and accidental disclosures of confidential information of the Court,” the report says.

A choice activist holds up a sign that reads: "What other rights will they take away?"

A choice activist holds up a sign that reads: “What other rights will they take away?”
(Fox Digital News)

Investigators continue to “review and process some electronic data that has been collected and some other inquiries remain pending,” according to the report.

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“Court investigators will continue to follow up on leads if more information is obtained,” said Michael Chertoff, a former DHS secretary and former federal appeals judge hired by Roberts as a consultant on the court’s internal investigative methods. “In the meantime, the Court has already taken steps to increase security and tighten controls regarding the handling of confidential documents.

“Most importantly, the Chief Justice has also led a comprehensive review of the Court’s document and information security protocols to mitigate the risk of future incidents.”

Fox News’ Shannon Bream, Bill Mears, Bradford Betz and Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.

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