Officials with the U.S. Supreme Court are expanding the investigation into the leaked draft opinion indicating the court is positioned to overturn Roe v. Wade. Law clerks employed by the court are being required to provide mobile phone records and sign sworn affidavits according to sources inside the court.
Some of the legal clerks are now reportedly considering whether to hire independent legal counsel. The new investigative steps in the probe have led to increased tensions inside the highly private inner proceedings of the court.
It has been reported that Chief Justice John Roberts met with all of the court’s clerks as a group after the leak. It is not known if individual interviews have been conducted.
The contents of the affidavits being presented to clerks to be signed and the scope of the phone records demands are not yet publicly known.
Each justice on the court typically hires four law clerks each year. They are regarded as the upper elites of new law school graduates and overwhelmingly come from Ivy League law schools and normally have recently served as clerks for other high-profile federal appellate judges.
A one-year clerkship is also a direct path to jobs with the nation’s leading law firms, professorships, or top government positions.
The internal probe into the leak is being conducted by the Supreme Court Marshal at the order of the chief justice.
The clerks make up a large part of the small group of people who normally have access to draft opinions being circulated among members of the court before official release and publication. Reporting does not indicate if persons on staff other than the law clerks are being investigated in connection to the leak.
Meanwhile, House Republicans introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make leaking confidential information from the Supreme Court a federal crime.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) sponsors the legislation that would impose a federal prison sentence of up to five years for illegal leaking of court information. Johnson said the institution of the court has been damaged by the leak and Congress must do something “to try to repair it.”
No official updates on the investigation have been provided to date from the court or the marshal.