Supreme Court Says It Hasn’t Identified Person Who Leaked Draft Opinion

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that an internal investigation had failed to identify the person who leaked a draft of the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion.

In a 20-page report, the court’s marshal, responsible for overseeing the inquiry, said that investigators had conducted 126 formal interviews of 97 employees, all of whom had denied being the source of the leak. Investigators also found no forensic evidence by examining the court’s “computer devices, networks, printers and available call and text logs,” the report said.

Several employees of the court did admit to investigators, the report said, that they had told their spouses or partners about the draft opinion and the vote count in violation of the court’s confidentiality rules. But the investigation did not determine that any of those discussions led to a copy of the draft opinion becoming public.

The leak, published by Politico in May, was an extraordinary breach of the court’s usual secrecy. In a statement soon after, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion but said it did not represent the final version and announced an investigation.

The leak frayed relations among the justices. Justice Clarence Thomas likened it to an infidelity. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the author of the opinion, said the disclosure endangered the lives of the justices in the majority.

When the court issued its decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, the draft opinion was essentially unchanged.

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