Supreme Court Says It Failed To Identify Source of Dobbs Leak

Leak of draft decision brought mobs outside justices' homes, attempted assassination of Kavanaugh

Pro-life and pro-choice protesters in front of the Supreme Court (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
January 19, 2023

The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it has failed to identify the person who leaked a copy of a draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which revealed the Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

An investigative team the Court commissioned to probe last year's leak "has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence," the Court said in a statement accompanying the team's findings. The team analyzed forensic evidence and interviewed nearly 100 employees in an effort to determine which employee gave Politico the draft copy.

When Politico in May published the leaked draft, a month before the Court issued its final decision overturning Roe, the news triggered nationwide protests from pro-choice activists, including demonstrations outside the Court and the homes of conservative justices. A gunman, who told authorities he planned to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was arrested in June outside the justice's house.

The Court in its Thursday statement called the Dobbs leak "one of the worst breaches of trust in its history" and "a grave assault on the judicial process."

The investigative team said it would continue to probe how the draft decision got into Politico's hands and outlined recommendations to prevent a future leak. The team suggested lowering the number of employees who have access to sensitive documents and upgrading the Court's security technologies to more effectively track when files are accessed and printed.