Gloves Off: Supreme Court Demands Clerks' Phone Records in Leak Probe

Pro-life and pro-choice activists clash in front of the Supreme Court / Getty Images
May 31, 2022

Officials at the Supreme Court have moved to require clerks to hand over cell phone records and sign affidavits as part of the Court's efforts to identify the leaker of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, CNN reported Tuesday.

Three sources with knowledge of the Court's investigation told CNN some clerks are considering hiring outside counsel in response to the move. 

Chief Justice John Roberts, who initially called for an investigation into the leaked draft on May 3, has met with clerks to discuss the leak, but whether any individual interviews have taken place is unknown. The phone records request is the most significant development in the investigation thus far, with legal observers suggesting the Court officials' intrusion would cause clerks to seek counsel.

"That’s what similarly situated individuals would do in virtually any other government investigation," an unnamed appellate lawyer with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. "It would be hypocritical for the Supreme Court to prevent its own employees from taking advantage of that fundamental legal protection."

Sources familiar with the Court’s movements said neither the exact language of the affidavits nor the scope of the cell phone search is clear, according to CNN.

After the draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was leaked to Politico on May 2, pro-abortion extremists attacked and threatened pro-life churches, advocates, and some Supreme Court justices.