There is currently an ongoing internal investigation into the origin of a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court on a major abortion case that sparked national controversy, angry protests, acts of vandalism and violence, and even an alleged attempted assassination of a Supreme Court justice.
According to former President Donald Trump, though, the investigation into the identity of the leaker should be fairly simple and straightforward — ask the reporters who published the leaked document who they obtained it from, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Go to the reporter who received the leak”
That common-sense suggestion from the former president came by way of a post to Trump’s account on his new social media platform, Truth Social, which was subsequently shared on other platforms like Twitter.
“The U.S. Supreme Court MUST find, reveal, and punish the ‘Leaker.’ Very easy to do — Go to the reporter who received the leak,” Trump wrote in the post on Wednesday.
He added, “This is a tremendously serious matter that has never happened, to anywhere near this extent, before. The Court will be compromised and demeaned until this very big problem is solved!”
— Posting Trump’s Truths (@PostTrumpTruths) June 22, 2022
Politico reporters published leaked draft opinion
If one were to follow the advice of the former president and “go to the reporter who received the leak,” that would be Politico reporters Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, who shared the byline on the outlet’s May 2 article titled “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows.”
That piece provided details and snippets and a link to a copy of a draft opinion from February authored by Justice Samuel Alito that struck down as unconstitutional the two major precedents on federal abortion rights — 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey — in upholding a challenged Mississippi law that restricted abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Just one day after that article was published, the Supreme Court issued a press release in which Chief Justice John Roberts denounced the leak as a “betrayal” of the court’s integrity and announced an investigation to be headed by the Marshal of the Court.
Status of ongoing investigation unclear
Whether investigators for the Supreme Court’s Marshal have indeed spoken directly with the two Politico reporters from whom the leaked draft opinion was received is unclear at this time, and it is common practice that journalists refrain from identifying anonymous sources, even when threatened to do so by law enforcement or courts.
That said, the Examiner noted that multiple reports appear to indicate that the investigators have focused their attention on the court’s clerks — and perhaps other staff who may have had access to the draft opinion — and have begun the process of obtaining sworn affidavits and even cellphone data from those individuals.
Former President Trump is absolutely correct about one thing, though, in that this unprecedented leak of an unpublished Supreme Court opinion is indeed a “tremendously serious matter” that must be swiftly addressed and prevented from occurring again in the future.