Supreme Court staffers bitter over justices getting a pass during leak investigation
Cheif Justice John Roberts (Photo by Brendan Smialowski for AFP)

The Supreme Court investigation into the leak of Associate Justice Sam Alito's draft that would lead to the dismantling of the Roe v Wade after fifty years came up empty according to a report this week, but it left behind a bitter aftertaste among clerks for the justices --some of whom feel it was not conducted thoroughly.

According to a report from the New York Times' Jodi Kantor, court employees feel they were unfairly interrogated while the nine justices sat on the sideline and faced far less scrutiny.

Legal experts are questioning the thoroughness of the investigations, with one pointing out, "Whether the ‘employees’ who were subjected to the investigation includes the justices themselves remains unclear, and the speculation amongst legal industry commentators is that the nine were not included in the search for the leaker — and it certainly doesn’t include any of their spouses,” and those staffers are now raising the same concerns.

According to the Supreme Court marshal who headed the investigation, the justices were questioned -- but not asked to sign sworn affidavits.

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In an interview with the Times, one court staffer complained, "They weren’t subjected to the same level of scrutiny. It’s hard to imagine any of them suffering meaningful consequences even if they were implicated in the leak.”

Attorney Mark Zaid agreed, saying failure to adequately press the justices, "just completely undermines the court’s credibility. It sends a message of superiority that does not exist under the eyes of the law.”

According to the Times' Kantor, the investigation has left wounds that won't soon heal.

"In interviews, some employees said the leak and investigation further tainted the atmosphere inside a court that had already grown tense with disagreement. The leak spurred finger pointing, they said, with many conservatives convinced that a liberal had engineered the breach and vice versa. Just as the justices have grown more divided, so has their staff, eroding trust. Voices are more hushed now, the employees said, and doors that used to be open are closed," she wrote before adding, "In recent months, as the court has completed its report, new clerks have taken their places inside the chambers. Security is tightening. Further protocol changes are promised. And with the release of the report, a growing recognition has taken hold, some employees say: The best chance of understanding who leaked the most consequential decision in generations, and what that person was trying to achieve, is fading away."

You can read more here.