Supreme Court justices questioned in abortion leak probe

Supreme Court justices questioned in abortion leak probe

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, January 20, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Each of the Supreme Court justices was questioned – some of them multiple times – as part of investigation in last year’s leak of a draft notice of the decision that ended up overturning the court’s landmark abortion court decision Roe v. Wade, the head of that investigation revealed Friday.

The statement came a day after the Supreme Court declined to say whether the justices were among some 100 court staff and clerks interviewed as part of the investigation. The court said the investigation was unable to identify the person or persons who leaked the draft notice, authored by Judge Samuel Alito, to Politico in May.

None of the justices or their spouses have been identified as potential suspects, according to Gail Curley, the Supreme Court marshal, who oversaw the investigation into the leaks.

But unlike other interviewees, none of the judges were asked to provide an affidavit denying disclosing 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 established that there was a constitutional right to abortion.

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“During the inquest, I spoke with each of the judges, several times,” Curley said in a statement.

“The judges actively cooperated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine,” Curley said. “I followed all credible leads, none of which implicated the judges or their spouses. Based on this, I did not believe it was necessary to have the judges sign sworn 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 after the decision was released. CNBC asked a court spokesperson if Breyer was among those interviewed by Curley.

Curley’s report on her inability to identify the funder, which was released Thursday, did not mention that she questioned the judges.

The report says Curley’s team “conducted 126 formal interviews with 97 employees, all of whom denied disclosing the opinion.”

Each of these employees was asked to sign an affidavit denying having disclosed the draft notice.