New Federal Crime Introduced – Weeks After The SCOTUS Leak Scandal
(TargetLiberty.org) – The founding fathers designed the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to be free of political influence. The Court deliberates in private for that very reason. If the Justices suddenly made their conversations public, there’s no doubt partisan factions would try to voice opinions in the hope of influencing the High Court. Now conservative lawmakers want to make it illegal for the SCOTUS to leak confidential information.
Leaker Accountability Act
On May 31, 12 House Republicans introduced the Leaker Accountability Act. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Chair of the House GOP Conference, sponsored the legislation, and 11 other members, including GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), signed on.
The bill would prohibit any employee or officer of the Supreme Court from intentionally “publishing, divulging, disclosing, or making known in any manner” confidential court information, including draft opinions, final opinions before publication, or internal notes. Prosecutors could charge anyone caught leaking information with a crime, and they could face up to five years in prison.
Currently, there’s no clear law explicitly preventing a person from leaking SCOTUS information; it’s just been an unspoken rule in the Court. The leak to POLITICO of a first draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization shattered that trust in May. The case involves Mississippi’s 6-week abortion ban.
The scandal marked the first leak of a draft opinion from the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts has launched an internal investigation into the source of the leak, but so far, it hasn’t produced any results. Investigators recently asked Supreme Court clerks to hand over their phone records to investigators.
Some experts believe prosecutors could charge the leaker with a federal crime like obstruction of justice or perhaps even embezzlement. Others argue there was nothing criminal about it, saying it was highly unethical and could lead to disbarment.
FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon applauded Rep. Johnson for introducing the bill. He announced it on Twitter and said although the leak damaged the Court when it occurred, the action’s legality was unclear, and the bill would prevent similar leaks from happening in the future.
12 @HouseGOP members today filed a bill to make leaking confidential information from SCOTUS a federal crime.
The institution of the Court has been damaged and we must do what we can to try to repair it. pic.twitter.com/UnJGVYthLK
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) May 31, 2022
The representative told The Daily Caller that the possibility of the Justices reversing the federal right to an abortion has “enraged the Left [sparking] an unprecedented intimidation campaign” to try to influence the Justices’ final vote. If lawmakers pass his bill, Johnson believes it would prevent the usage of those “unlawful tactics” in the future.
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