WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices spoke with the official in charge of the investigation into the leak of an unpublished draft of an opinion in a consequential abortion case, a court official confirmed Friday.
Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley, who led the probe, said in a statement that she "spoke with each of the justices, several on multiple occasions." The justices "actively cooperated," Curley said, and after following up on all leads she concluded that neither the justices nor any spouses were implicated.
"On this basis I did not believe that it was necessary to ask the justices to sign sworn affidavits," Curley added.
The lack of signed affidavits suggests that the justices were not formally interviewed in the same way as court staff.
In a report issued Thursday, Curley concluded that the leaker had not been identified "by a preponderance of the evidence," but it was not clear whether Curley had focused on the justices themselves.
Curley said in the report that 97 court employees were interviewed and that all denied being the leaker. She said it was unlikely the court’s information technology systems were compromised.
Thursday’s report also said 82 employees, not including the justices, had access to either a hard copy or an electronic version of the draft opinion. Several people admitted in interviews that “they did not treat information relating to the draft opinion consistent with the court’s confidentiality policies,” the report said.
Employees were asked to sign affidavits affirming that they did not leak the opinion. They would be subject to criminal prosecution if they lied to investigators.
Curley's new statement still leaves some questions unanswered. The report a day earlier had said that "all personnel who had access to the draft opinion signed sworn affidavits affirming they did not disclose the draft opinion nor knew anything about who did."
Washington was rocked in May when Politico published a draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito that indicated the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, was about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights ruling. The court ultimately did indeed overturn Roe on a 5-4 vote in a ruling issued in June.