Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan called the leak of the draft opinion overturning national abortion rights earlier this year “horrible” and suggested there could be an update on the probe into the perpetrator by the end of the month, according to multiple reports.
It’s been more than four months since Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tapped Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley days after the leak in May to lead the investigation and find out who did the leaking.
A former Army lawyer and colonel who oversees the court grounds and security, Ms. Curley has been in the job less than a year. But observers say she appears to have the right temperament for the unexpected task, and an Associated Press profile described her as “smart, private, apolitical and unlikely to be intimidated.”
“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,” Justice Kagan said during a recent appearance at Temple Emanu-El’s Streicker Center, CNN reported.
The associate justice said if the people investigating the leak have “not figured out who the perpetrator was” then the court must evaluate how to prevent another leak from happening in the future.
Court-watchers were aghast when news broke May 2 that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the decades-old precedent on abortion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It was the first time a full draft opinion had been leaked in the Supreme Court’s 233-year history.
In the draft opinion published by Politico, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the question of access to abortion should return to the state legislatures. The news broke months before the court would issue its actual 6-3 ruling.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion,” he wrote. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“It’s time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” read the draft opinion, which was dated in February.
Pro-choice protesters were outraged by the leak, and began protesting outside the homes of conservative justices, sharing their addresses online.
One activist even traveled from California to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with plans to assassinate him.
And the leak did not count as disinformation: Justice Alito’s official opinion ultimately closely mirrored the leaked draft opinion.
A spokesperson from the high court did not return a request for comment on Justice Kagan’s timeline.
The Supreme Court will kick off its 2022 term next month.