Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee believes it is still “very possible” to uncover the identity of the leaker who exposed a draft of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion opinion overturning Roe v. Wade—a leak that prompted illegal protesting and threats to the safety of the justices.
“We do need to find who the leaker is,” Lee said in a Thursday phone interview with The Daily Signal. “Had an adequately thorough investigation been performed at the outset, a year ago, we would have gotten to the bottom of this very quickly.
“I still think they could get to the bottom of this.”
In January, the Supreme Court announced it was unable to determine the identity of the leaker or leakers. Investigators did determine that 82 employees had access to electronic or hard copies of the draft.
Lee suggests that the Supreme Court marshal reopen the investigation and enlist the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, which could be deputized to conduct an investigation.
“They need to thoroughly interview, and follow up on interviews, with each and every law clerk who served there as well as other court personnel sufficiently close to the process to have unfettered access to the opinions,” he said.
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That leak presented significant safety risks to the Supreme Court justices, Lee emphasized. Shortly after the leak, the radical pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us posted the justices’ addresses online and began urging protesters to protest at the homes of the “six extremist justices, three in Virginia and three in Maryland.” They were joined by activists with Our Rights DC, ShutDownDC, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, and other leftist groups.
This protesting has frequently occurred in spite of 18 U.S. Code 1507, which forbids picketing or parading “in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” with the intent of intimidating or influencing that person.
On June 8, 2022, authorities arrested 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in the middle of the night. Roske had traveled from California to Maryland armed with weapons and burglary tools to try to kill the justice and stop Roe from being overturned, according to a Department of Justice affidavit.
Kavanaugh wasn’t Roske’s only target: “I could get at least one, which would change the votes for decades to come, and I am shooting for 3,” the attempted assassin told his friend of his plot, adding, “All of the major decisions for the past 10 years have been along party lines, so if there are more liberal than conservative judges, they will have the power.”
Lee warned that if investigators do not get to the bottom of the leak, things will get worse.
“This sort of thing will continue if there’s no consequence to it,” the senator said.
Asked if the Dobbs leaker shares culpability, Lee said he believes the leaker shares “some culpability for threats” to the justices’ safety.
“That’s what prompted the initial round of protests—the leak itself,” he explained. “And the whole idea was, if we can get people angry enough, then people will show up at the homes of the justices. We want them to be afraid. And perhaps somebody will kill them. Perhaps someone will either kill one of the justices signing on to it [the Dobbs decision], which would change the composition of the majority and perhaps mean that the case could be decided differently, or alternatively, it might scare the justices who were part of the Dobbs majority to a degree sufficient to convince them to go in a different direction.”
“That’s just lawlessness,” he said. “That’s pure evil. You’re using threats of physical violence in order to change the way these jurists interpret the law and discharge their duties.”
Earlier this week, Lee joined fellow Republican Sens. Katie Britt of Alabama, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Ted Cruz of Texas in sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. That letter revealed that the senators have obtained “post orders” dated May 19, 2022, claiming that U.S. marshals were “not in a position to enforce” federal and state law.
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