Supreme Court officials are intensifying their efforts to find the person who leaked a draft opinion setting off an abortion-debate firestorm, according to reports.
The effort comes as Republicans in Congress introduce a new bill to make leaking Supreme Court information a crime.
According to CNN, the Supreme Court is making law clerks provide cell phone records and sign affidavits in connection to the investigation.
Some outside the court said the move has raised concerns about the intrusiveness on the clerk’s personal lives, according to the report. It has also led some to question whether they need lawyers.
“That’s what similarly situated individuals would do in virtually any other government investigation,” an unnamed appellate lawyer told the oulet. “It would be hypocritical for the Supreme Court to prevent its own employees from taking advantage of that fundamental legal protection.”
Clerks are often young lawyers who provide help and guidance to judges as they work on opinions and cases.
The clerks are being targeted as the Supreme Court tries to determine who leaked a draft opinion that showed the court nearing a move to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guarantees federal election protections.
The leak has set off a political firestorm with both sides taking to the proverbial soapbox to speak about the decision.
So far, the Supreme Court has not released its final decision. But experts say that could happen within days.
The investigation also comes as Republicans in Congress on Tuesday introduced a bill to make leaking Supreme Court information a crime, as Knewz reported.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced the bill that would make leaking a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine.
The bill hasn’t gone anywhere in Congress, though numerous Republicans have previously backed making leaking a crime.
“The unauthorized leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health constitutes a grave breach of judicial ethics and a deliberate attack on the independence of the Supreme Court,” Johnson said. “This legislation is now, unfortunately, a necessary step to discourage future such attempts to intimidate justices during their deliberative process and restore independence to the Court so that it can ensure the American people are afforded equal and impartial justice under the law. The institution of the Court has been damaged and we must do what we can to try to repair it.”