January 20, 2023

A Botched Investigation and a Thoughtful Celebration

Despite the failure of the Roberts Court to find the leaker of the Dobbs decision, there’s still much to celebrate on March for Life weekend.

The worst part of the Roberts Court’s failure to find and punish those responsible for the most egregious breach of confidentiality in the history of the Supreme Court isn’t the corrosive damage it’s done to the culture of trust within the High Court. It’s the certainty that such a breach will happen again.

And it will happen again, perhaps sooner than we think. After all, the unprecedented leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft Dobbs decision was wildly successful. It raised awareness of the monumental decision to come, and it gave pro-abortion activists plenty of lead time to mount their campaign against the decision.

From timely op-eds, to congressional grandstanding, to massive fundraising, to voter mobilization, to terrorizing justices with everything from protests in front of their homes to a near-assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — from all of this, we can say with certainty that the leak was a resounding success. And without any accountability, without any consequences having been meted out, what other possible message might future leftist activists take?

For example, the 5-3-1 conservative court may well strike down affirmative action this year, and wouldn’t it be helpful for those on the Left to mount a campaign in advance of the decision to denounce the systemic racism and white supremacy inherent within the High Court? Perhaps that sort of preemptive action could even help Chief Justice John Roberts peel off one or two of the more conservative justices to help chart a “middle course” that preserves the current racially discriminatory status quo in higher-ed admissions.

Last May, at the time of the leak, Roberts called it “an egregious breach of trust,” and he called upon the Marshal of the Court to find out who leaked the document to Politico. Investigators conducted more than 120 interviews of nearly 100 employees, all of whom — wait for it! — denied disclosing the opinion, the Court said. The Marshal didn’t say how many of these employees were waterboarded harshly interrogated.

The absence of any mention of FBI involvement in the case, though, leads us to wonder just how serious Chief Justice Roberts is about solving this case.

According to Fox News, some three dozen law clerks were the initial focus of the investigation, and some of them even voluntarily turned over their phones for examination. Stunningly, as the report noted, several court employees acknowledged that they’d told their spouses or partners about the draft opinion and the court’s preliminary vote count, which was, of course, a gross violation of the court’s confidentiality rules.

Per the Marshal’s report, the investigation team has been “unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

We’re pleased to report, though, the following vote of confidence from the High Court: “The Marshal and her team will continue to have our full support.” Despite this, the report’s closing paragraph reads rather unreassuringly:

In time, continued investigation and analysis may produce additional leads that could identify the source of the disclosure. Whether or not any individual is ever identified as the source of the disclosure, the Court should take action to create and implement better policies to govern the handling of Court-sensitive information and determine the best IT systems for security and collaboration.

Translation: We’ll keep at it (harrumph), but don’t hold your breath.

All this bad news is set against the backdrop of a weekend that otherwise portends great news and a glorious celebration: The annual March for Life right there in Washington, DC. It’s the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the first March since that decision’s overturning.

Last year’s long-overdue Dobbs decision began saving lives almost immediately. Indeed, as our Nate Jackson humbly and joyously wrote at the time, “Babies Win.”

Still, there’s plenty of work left to be done, especially with some conflicting data about whether the sheer volume of abortions has dropped significantly and with “do it yourself” abortions on the rise.

“The 50th March for Life will be a great celebration of the ending of Roe v. Wade,” write Virginia Allen and Lauren Evans at The Daily Signal, “and a great call to action as we enter a new era in the fight for life in the states. The prayer is that one day the March for Life will be unnecessary because all of America will recognize that a baby in the womb is a unique human life worthy of protection.”

Hear, hear. And Happy 50th, you stalwart March for Lifers! Join us celebrating Sanctity of Life Day Sunday. Imago Dei!

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