Controversy erupted in May after Politico published a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion showing that the Supreme Court was set to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Chief Justice John Roberts responded by opening an investigation into who leaked the material. According to Fox News, the list of suspects is narrowing.
Seventy individuals are being looked at
The network cited unnamed sources as saying that “approximately 70 individuals in the court who may have had access to the draft opinion” are being scrutinized.
However, Fox News noted that investigatory efforts may be complicated by the fact that most of last terms’ law clerks have since moved on. Also unclear is what consequences the leaker will face if he or she is ultimately found.
While Supreme Court public information officer Patricia McCabe had little to say when asked for comment by Fox News on Friday, Roberts did discuss the case in a rare public statement.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” he was quoted as saying. “The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.”
Legal observer says Court’s conservative direction unlikely to change
Alito’s leaked opinion was not the only major event to have impacted the Supreme Court this year, as in June Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson also replaced Justice Stephen Breyer.
Thomas Dupree is a former Department of Justice official as well as a member of the conservative Federalist Society, and he told Fox News that Jackson’s appointment isn’t likely to change the court’s trajectory.
“I expect that continuation of where they’re going, they’re going to be controlled by a conservative majority,” Dupree said.
“There’s not going to be a great ideological shift when you’re replacing one liberal vote with another liberal vote,” the attorney added.
“The interpersonal dynamics are different than negotiations behind the scenes are different, and you can never quite anticipate how that might ultimately play out,” he acknowledged.
“But at least for the foreseeable future, I think we’re going to continue to see the conservative majority controlling the outcomes in most of the big ticket cases.”