The American people have yet to learn the identity of the person behind the unprecedented leak of the Supreme Court opinion that overturned Roe V. Wade, and neither have the court’s justices. However, that could change soon.
Liberal jurist Elena Kagan said Monday that the justices will get a briefing before the end of September, Fox News reported.
Leak probe update imminent
When the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked to Politico in May, Chief Justice John Roberts called the breach “absolutely appalling” and opened a probe.
While the leak has generally been condemned by the right more than the left, Justice Kagan said it was “horrible” and “shocking” during a talk at Temple Emanu-El’s Streicker Center in New York.
She said she knows nothing about the leak investigation, but she expects to receive more information soon, echoing a similar comment last week from conservative Neil Gorsuch.
“I don’t know anything. I suspect my colleagues don’t know anything, except for the chief justice maybe, about what the investigation has turned up, if anything,” she said.
Kagan said that the court cannot do its job independently “when you might wake up tomorrow morning and there’s an opinion on the front page of the newspapers.”
Her conservative colleagues learned that lesson the hard way when angry mobs started gathering outside their homes after the leak. Democrats have generally downplayed the leak and the political extremism it inspired as less of an outrage than the court’s decision to repeal Roe.
In her remarks Monday, Kagan took a thinly veiled shot at her conservative colleagues who voted to repeal Roe, saying they undermined the court’s “legitimacy.”
“Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves … when they instead stray into places where it looks like they’re an extension of the political process or when they’re imposing their own personal preferences,” Kagan said.
There has been lots of speculation about the leaker’s identity. A popular theory is that the leaker is a law clerk for one of the liberal justices, but some have raised the possibility that the leaker is a conservative who sought to pressure the Supreme Court to preserve its draft opinion ending Roe.
While the court may learn more, it’s not clear what if any information will be shared with the public.