The Volokh Conspiracy

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"Betraying the Bench: Could the SCOTUS Leaker Face Criminal Charges?"

An interesting article by two former prosecutors (T. Markus Funk and Andrew S. Boutros) and District Judge Virginia M. Kendall (N.D. Ill.)

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From a Bloomberg Law column today, reprinted with permission; I can't opine on the matter myself, but it struck me as worth passing along, and I'd of course also be glad to link to other views on the subject:

The possibility that a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk may have leaked a draft opinion to a Politico reporter has shined a rare spotlight on the consequences facing law clerks who betray judicial trust. Chief Justice John Roberts, who characterized the leak as "appalling," ordered the court's marshal to launch an investigation.

No doubt leaking internal court documents and other sensitive information—whether at the Supreme Court or in a lower court—threatens to end a promising legal career before it has launched, and for good reasons. But does such a bold breach also implicate the criminal law?

Most observers, including some prominent law professors and other members of the legal commentariat sharing their perspectives in outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Wired, USA Today, and Politifact, have opined that it likely does not.

As three former federal prosecutors who have been working on criminal cases for some 75 years combined, we offer a different perspective.

Violating the Hallowed Trust

Those lucky enough to have served as judicial law clerks, whether in the federal or state courts, will at some point early on have been warned that the dissemination of court-confidential information is a categorical "no-no." As Justice Antonin Scalia is reported to have put it with characteristic candor: "If I ever discover that you have betrayed the confidences of what goes on in these chambers, I will do everything in my power to ruin your career."

But no matter how it is articulated, there is no mistaking the solemn expectation that what happens in chambers stays in chambers.

More than just common practice (not to mention common sense), federal law clerks, and even interns, fall under the same code of conduct covering federal judges. They must, among other things, uphold the integrity of the court, refrain from political activity, and adhere to the highest standards of confidentiality. But can a federal law clerk's ethical breach cross into a violation of criminal law?

The short answer is very likely. A federal prosecutor focused on protecting the integrity of the judicial process, and armed with persuasive evidence of intentional leaking, will almost certainly be able to present charges to a federal grand jury.

Of course, reasonable minds can still disagree on whether prosecutorial discretion should be exercised in favor of lenity, and whether, depending on the circumstances, deferring to state bar ethics authorities is preferable. Those latter issues, however, go to judgment. What we are focused on here, in contrast, is what some might say is the inaccurate claim that federal law somehow precludes prosecution.

Many of the prosecutorial strategies discussed by pundits are, in fact, non-starters. For example, a draft ruling or similar court-sensitive information is not classified, so the Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. § 798) is unavailable.

Further, law clerks almost always have lawful access to the drafts and similar information stored on court computer systems, rendering the hacking statute (18 U.S.C. § 1030), particularly as interpreted in Van Buren v. United States, inapplicable.

Finally, the act of leaking itself does not constitute a false statement (18 U.S.C § 1001). The court's marshal, however, certainly could ask the clerks whether they engaged in leaking conduct. If it turns out that one of them falsely denied involvement, a Section 1001 charge could be brought.

This, however, is far from the end of the conversation.

Corruptly Influencing an Official Proceeding

Enacted with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) makes it criminal to, among other things, corruptly influence an "official proceeding." The issuance of an opinion certainly is part of an official proceeding, and, depending on the evidence, it is foreseeable that a law clerk could seek to corruptly (that is, wrongly, as in United States v. Nordean) influence a proceeding by, say, changing the outcome of the justices' vote or the scope of the court's holding, through external pressure, threat, intimidation, or otherwise.

Theft of Government Property

The taking of the confidential work product of the justices may also implicate 18 U.S.C. § 641, because, broadly described, it is the theft of government "property." Perhaps the law clerk "stole" the paper ("thing of value") on which the ruling was printed. If, as is likely, the value of the thing stolen is under $1,000, however, we are in misdemeanor territory.

The more substantive question, characterized by a current circuit split, is whether confidential "information" qualifies as a "thing of value." As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit put it more than 40 years ago, the government has a "property interest in certain of its private records which it may protect by statute as a thing of value."

It is hard to disagree. After all, federal courts decide issues of enormous economic, social, and legal importance (and value). Advance notice of a court decision creating or removing an asserted right or privilege (or ruling in favor of one litigant or another in a business dispute) would appear to be especially "valuable." (See also United States v. Middendorf—intangible confidential information is "property.")

Disclosure of Confidential Information

The disclosure of confidential court information might also fit well within the parameters of the oft-overlooked misdemeanor statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1905 (prohibiting the "disclosure of confidential information generally"). Law clerks are federal employees, the information they obtain is "confidential," it comes to them "in the course of [their] employment," and the disclosure is not "authorized by law." (United States v. WallingtonU.S. Customs Service employee running unauthorized background checks for a friend; the confidential information need not come from, nor be generated by, a private party.)

Although it is true that the only Section 1905 prosecutions thus far have been brought against executive branch employees, this bit of legal historiography offers little protection to judicial or legislative branch employees. After all, the text applies to any "officer or employee of the United States," which includes, but is not limited to, any "department or agency thereof."

Finally, the fact of a 5-to-4 split ruling, the outcome of a case, or similar information can be said to "concern" or "relate to" the judicial "process," "operation," or "style of work,"—at least, the prosecutor will so argue (although there is some room for defense counsel to claim otherwise).

Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.

In 1919, Ashton Embry, a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna, sent an opinion to Wall Street financiers ahead of a judgment involving a railroad company. He was indicted for having violated 18 U.S.C. § 371. The prosecution's theory was that, by releasing the opinion early, the clerk and his "co-conspirators deprived the Court of the right to announce its decisions at the customary time."

In short, the early release upset the court's established custom. The district court rejected Embry's motion to dismiss, but the prosecutor thereafter, for undisclosed reasons, dismissed the case. Although the case was not seen to its conclusion, the unfinished prosecution of Embry is interesting if for no other reason than that it belies recent assertions that law clerk leaking is terra incognita. (Middendorf—holding that intent to defraud by sharing intangible information may be "incidental to another primary motivation.)

The widespread claims that the criminal prosecution of a law clerk leaker would require a prosecutor to "cook up creative theories," that it would be a "stretch" for the Justice Department to "even investigate the matter," and that there "is no criminal statute" that makes the leaking of draft opinions "illegal" are off-base. When the facts call for it, the existing statutory framework will not stymie a prosecutor dedicated to protecting the integrity of the judicial process….

[* * *]

T. Markus Funk, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, is a partner at Perkins Coie and most recently served as the chair of the firm's White Collar & Investigations practice. He served as a clerk to Judge Morris S. Arnold (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit) and Judge Catherine D. Perry (Eastern District of Missouri). [He has also written extensively on various topics, both in academic journals and in other publications; he and I cowrote a Bloomberg Law piece on self-defense two months ago. -EV]

Andrew S. Boutros, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, is a partner at Dechert LLP and serves as the regional chair of the firm's White Collar practice. He is also a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and served a clerk to Judge Eugene E. Siler Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Virginia M. Kendall is a U.S. District Court judge in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. She trains judicial law clerks on ethics and served six years on the Judicial Codes of Conduct Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference. She is also a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and was a clerk to Judge George M. Marovich in the Northern District of Illinois.

The authors would like to thank Joshua Sullivan and Chloe Zagrodzky, both law students at the University of Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab, for their research assistance on this article.

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  1. Whoa....that is a lot of charges. The leaker is truly fucked if they find zim/zer.

    1. Nitpicky lawyer fucks who need to lose their license for harassment and for free speech retaliation in violation of 4.4. Why Eugene, a free speech advocate, would entertain and support them is hard to understand. It is these lawyers who should be prosecuted for whistleblower retaliation.

      Start here, and link to the statutes that cover the subject:

      https://www.whistleblowers.gov/know_your_rights

      They enhanced the integrity of the court by reducing its secret proceedings. There was no theft. There was a retrieval of tax payer property converted by the Ivy indoctrinated dipshits on the Supreme Court.

      These prosecutors are responsible for 15 million common law crimes, and 100 million internet crimes a year. They are stretching their intellect to retaliate against a whistleblower. They are totally unprofessional.

    2. It's a total of four charges. Two of them are misdemeanors, and the two felonies seem like pretty big stretches (absent additional information, of course).

      So, more like "very likely to have their legal career disrupted", which I think we already knew.

      1. Theft of government property looks promising. But yeah, I think you're right about 'very likely to have their legal career disrupted'. I still cannot believe it happened quite honestly, Nas.

    3. "The leaker is truly fucked if they find zim/zer."

      Didn't know Ms. Curley used they.

  2. PURLOINED.

    Section 641 is the best, but hardly the only, way to go.

  3. One possibility that gets little press is that the info was hacked.

    Suppose a foreign state (Russia is the current most hated villain) hacked the court, stole the file, and leaked it to destabilize the American government.

    The judiciary can't rely on the other branches for internal operations. I suspect that the cybersecurity capabilities of SCOTUS are pretty meager.

    1. I would think letting it whomp all at once on release day would be an ideal goal for such a foreign government.

      This just has the feel of someone sending up a red flag and wanting to twist things. There's an off chance it was sent out by anti-abortion people to spread the outrage out, so it cools down some by release day, but that's too much thinking for that side.

      1. "There's an off chance it was sent out by anti-abortion people to spread the outrage out, so it cools down some by release day"

        "We don't want a lot of people to be pissed iall at once in June, so we will have them be pissed all at once in May instead." - You, an intellectual, attempting to mind-read

      2. I would think letting it whomp all at once on release day would be an ideal goal for such a foreign government.

        Yeah, but what if you're in Ukraine *now*, and may or may not be a bunch of months from now?

  4. A person convicted of a federal crime is offered certain protections, ultimately including an appeal to the USSC.

    Since the USSC is the 'victim' in this crime, they cannot be impartial justices. So the person does not have the rights afforded to everyone? Where does it say that?

    Perhaps Congress needs to pass some laws. But, they cannot affect this leaker.....

    1. I seem to remember from my conlaw class that there is no constitutional right to an appeal. Be that as it may, I'm not sure that would be a problem since it would be analogous to a judge punishing someone for contempt of court. The court is the victim, and the court is imposing the punishment. Yeah, I know that doesn't sound right, but the alternative would be worse.

    2. Flight-ER-Doc: Litigants generally don't have a legal right to have his case reviewed by the Supreme Court (with a few exceptions that aren't relevant here). The Court has the discretion whether to hear a case, and indeed they reject literally 99% of the cert. petitions that they are asked to hear, without passing judgment on the merits of the issue -- for instance, they might just conclude that the issue isn't important enough to merit their time, or isn't presented in the optimal way for them to consider.

      Partly because of this, 28 U.S.C. § 2109 provides that, in cases other than direct appeals,

      In any other case brought to the Supreme Court for review, which cannot be heard and determined because of the absence of a quorum of qualified justices, if a majority of the qualified justices shall be of opinion that the case cannot be heard and determined at the next ensuing term, the court shall enter its order affirming the judgment of the court from which the case was brought for review with the same effect as upon affirmance by an equally divided court.

      For direct appeals from district courts -- the rare cases where there is a legal right to have the case heard by the Supreme Court -- the statute provides that the case will be transferred to an appellate court, which will decide the matter in the Supreme Court's place.

      And of course any possible conflict of interest on the Justices' part can't be a basis for simply categorically blocking prosecution (assuming the prosecution is substantively authorized). Say, for instance, that a Justice is the victim of a crime; it may well be that all the other Justices will recuse themselves from any cert. petition in the case as well, since they all know the victim very well. But that can't mean that the attacker can't be prosecuted, right?

      Finally, if there were no such statutory provision, and the Court had to hear the case, then under the "rule of necessity" the judges would have to consider it, and try to be as fair as they can, notwithstanding the conflict of interest.

      1. The second from last point is similar to a crime so outrageous, it's impossible to prosecute because nobody hasn't heard of it and nobody has no unfavorable opinion on it, some massive terrorist attack for example, and so no jury could be found.

        In a case like that, I would say sorry, Charlie, to trial you go anyway, and the process do its best, as opposed to released.

      2. Didn't the Court have to deputize the Second Circuit to hear US v. Alcoa, since enough of the justices had conflicts of interest that they couldn't form a quorum? I have no idea what mechanism they used to do so, but couldn't something similar be done in this case?

    3. If the problem interests you in general, here is the recent UK Supreme Court case of HM Attorney General v. Crosland: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2021-0160-judgment.pdf

      The difficulty was that the Supreme Court had found Mr. Crosland in contempt and fined him £5,000, and Mr. Crosland then wanted to appeal. But who to, and on what legal basis?

      Fortunately the UK Supreme Court, unlike the US one, typically sits in panels of 5. So the appeal was heard by 5 different Law Lords to the ones that made the original contempt finding. And they held that

      although it may be that article 6 ECHR does not dictate that there is a right of appeal, we consider that, if at all possible within the bounds of ordinary statutory interpretation, we should strive to interpret the relevant statutory words of section 13 of the Administration of Justice Act as affording a right of appeal from a panel of the Supreme Court when it is exercising its contempt jurisdiction at first instance.

      So they found that there was a right of appeal. (And then rejected the appeal.)

      (For the people in the back, this is common law lawmaking in the context of statutory interpretation. Of course, if Parliament disagrees with this decision, it always has the power to enact a statute removing the right to an appeal in this kind of situation.)

    4. "Since the USSC is the 'victim' in this crime, they cannot be impartial justices."

      Someone last week cited a lynching case from the 1890s where the S/C issued an injunction, it was violated and criminal contempt charges were levied. The S/C conducted a criminal trial, found the miscreant(s) guilty and he/they spent two years in prison.

      So they can do what they want if it comes down to it.

    5. There's a legal doctrine, the name of which I don't remember, that says when the court involved is the only entity that can review the matter, the court's conflict of interest is set aside out of necessity.

      1. That would be the rule of necessity. (Or was "the name of which I don't remember" / "set aside out of necessity" a deep joke?)

        1. No intended as a joke. Intended to be taken literally.

  5. Suppose I am a government employee in possession of something of value (say, paper) that law and office policy would permit to be trashed. Do I break the law by giving it away instead? Does it matter if it should go into the recycling bin instead of the trash?

    When I lived in an apartment building bottle and can scavengers came every week to take from the recycling bins on our private property. Some cities have threatened criminal prosecution of people doing the same when bins are left on the street or sidewalk. The theory of the case is the recyclables belonged to the city on being set out and the city was deprived of the penny of value for recyclables, or 5 or 10 cents less labor cost for bottles and cans with deposits.

    One of the January 6 crowd was charged with taking a thing of value, to wit an empty envelope that as far as I can see was destined for the trash. I would be very unlikely to vote guilty in that case even if an expert swore an oath to Jesus and Dawkins that the envelope was worth 1.36914 cents rather than nothing.

    1. I am pretty underwhelmed by the "theft of the physical pieces of paper" theory (especially since it's not even clear at this point if it was printed on the court's paper.

      On the other hand, § 641 also punishes "convey[ing] or dispos[ing] of any record" without lawful authority, which seems like it's potentially applicable here.

      1. "I am pretty underwhelmed by the "theft of the physical pieces of paper" theory..."

        Seems like there's a pretty big difference (in value, at the very least) between pieces of paper, and pieces of paper with a draft SCOTUS opinion on them.

        I mean, I doubt the FBI would have made a big deal if somebody had stolen a blank diary from Ashley Biden.

  6. Don't stretch existing criminal law if it doesn't clearly cover the leak -- but by all means, pass a new bright-as-day law criminalizing such leaks going forward. Carve out protections for whistleblowers reporting actual misbehavior -- but the mere drafting of an opinion clearly wasn't that.

  7. What about contempt of court? I am genuinely curious about this.

    1. I think that might require a criminal Contempt charge brought by DOJ and handled as a regular criminal matter.

      1. Wouldn't all of these potential charges depend on the DOJ?

  8. Wouldn't it not be the value of the paper, but, the value of the "work product" that is on the paper? Is there a way to assign a value of that product?

    1. The leaker didn't deprive the court of the work product—it's not like Alito has to try to rewrite the opinion from memory.

      1. great minds....

      2. "The leaker didn't deprive the court of the work product..."

        So? The paper with the work product printed on it is a tangible object with significant value.

        1. The paper with the work product printed on it is a tangible object with significant value.

          Well, it's tangible object, anyway. The value question is kind of weird. It has no value to the court, which can't really sell it. OTOH, it might have value to the leaker, who could sell it to a news organization, maybe, though seems not to have done so here.

    2. You are not stealing the work product in any meaningful sense -- it is not like that was the only copy and they have to re-start from scratch. Plus, there is no copyright in govt documents.

      1. I mean, even if it were the only copy, all Alito has to do is copy it from Politico!

  9. Wouldn't a close analogy be non-classified but confidential government economic reports? I have to imagine there have been cases where they have been leaked for economic gain.

    I know that they have significant value. In 1983, a report on the condition of the orange crop had a fair market value of $50,000, and I can only imagine it has gone up since then.

    1. Wouldn't a close analogy be non-classified but confidential government economic reports? I have to imagine there have been cases where they have been leaked for economic gain.

      But there is no economic gain here, so the analogy doesn't really work.

      1. Abortion is an industry.

  10. We do not know that. The leaker may have been paid.

    But even assuming they were not, you would have to show that the law in question was limited to leaks for monetary gain as opposed to leaks for other reasons (personal gratification, public pressure etc.).

    1. meant as reply to Bernard

    2. you would have to show that the law in question was limited to leaks for monetary gain as opposed to leaks for other reasons (personal gratification, public pressure etc.).

      If the law in question is as broad as you suggest, then it criminalizes all leaks, at least as long as the leaker had some motive.

  11. As three former federal prosecutors who have been working on criminal cases for some 75 years combined, we offer a different perspective.

    It is telling — and not in a good way — that federal prosecutors (even if they are former) are proud of the fact that they can come up with creative ways to criminally prosecute people.

    It says bad things both about the prosecutor mentality and the federal penal code.

    1. It also may indicate that right-wingers are eager to punish someone they perceive to be a liberal, and a right-wing blog seems eager to circulate such a view. Will these three -- and the right-wing blog -- continue to advance this position if the leaker is demonstrated to be a conservative -- perhaps a prominent, powerful conservative?

      1. Yes. Conservatives like rules to be followed. Throw the book at the leaker.

  12. The fact that a law clerk leaked and was prosecuted in 1919 shows that there is, in fact, nothing new under the sun. Today, it simply happens at the speed of light.

  13. Except for disclosure of confidential information these all seem laughable to me.does not

    The leak does not corruptly influence an official proceeding. It's not a bribe or a threat, nor does it encourage violence by others. So what if it causes someone else to make threat? So might a strongly worded editorial or speech about the case.

    Theft? Nonsense. The draft is not a "thing of value." Thge government was not going to sell it, nor does it have any particular economic value to the leaker or anyone else. It is not at all the same thing as a report on economic conditions or the like, which will influence markets. Nor is it comparable to,

    Advance notice of a court decision creating or removing an asserted right or privilege (or ruling in favor of one litigant or another in a business dispute) would appear to be especially "valuable."

    Nor did "[the leaker] deprived the Court of the right to announce its decisions at the customary time."

    Guess what. This isn't a decision. It's a first draft. Besides, WTF. We really need to stop acting as if the Supreme Court is some sort of priesthood. It's not.

    A draft was leaked and the legal elite get the vapors. Get over it.

    1. "Thge government was not going to sell it, nor does it have any particular economic value to the leaker or anyone else."

      I'll let the pro-abortion and pro-life lobbyists in all state capitals know right away that they shouldn't be getting paid after all.

    2. "The leak does not corruptly influence an official proceeding."

      Tell that to the guys protesting outside of the justices houses.

      "The draft is not a "thing of value."

      Nonsense. Lots of people would have paid money for it. The political journalist got paid to acquire it. And Politico used it to generate revenue.

  14. No honest services fraud?

  15. "Enacted with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) makes it criminal to, among other things, corruptly influence an "official proceeding."

    My understanding of the existing precedent about the Sarbanes Oxley act is that, if use of this act be very strange, then textualism be damned, no, absolutely not. See: Yates.

    The rest of this seems fairly novel, so I mean, eh. Don't we have to many laws already? Not to dig at the authors, but is coming up with new and useful ways to arrest people really something you ought to be proud of?

  16. "Interesting" that the Volokh Conspiracy, using admirable in its devotion to libertarian principles that seek to make it difficult to deprive a fellow human being of, you know, "liberty", suddenly becomes an advocate of "throw the book at 'em" prosecution tactics. Just a case of whose ox, I guess.

    1. This is a white, male, movement conservative blog. The libertarian elements of this blog are (1) the misleading claim published at the masthead and (2) periodic contributions from Prof. Somin.

  17. I think that we saw quite clearly with the BLM riots (and earlier through Ted Kaczynski's attempt to suppress the fruits of a likely illegal search) that the law is inconsequential is there is no interest in upholding it ...

    ... and with respect to this leaker, I think that the Democratic party, at the highest levels, has telegraphed that they support and respect the activity.

    There will be no prosecution.

  18. Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.

    In 1919, Ashton Embry, a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna, sent an opinion to Wall Street financiers ahead of a judgment involving a railroad company. He was indicted for having violated 18 U.S.C. § 371. The prosecution's theory was that, by releasing the opinion early, the clerk and his "co-conspirators deprived the Court of the right to announce its decisions at the customary time."

    In short, the early release upset the court's established custom. The district court rejected Embry's motion to dismiss, but the prosecutor thereafter, for undisclosed reasons, dismissed the case. Although the case was not seen to its conclusion, the unfinished prosecution of Embry is interesting if for no other reason than that it belies recent assertions that law clerk leaking is terra incognita. (Middendorf—holding that intent to defraud by sharing intangible information may be "incidental to another primary motivation.)

    Granting the dubious premise that the leak "defraud[ed] the United States", what is the basis for believing the leaker conspired to do so, rather than acting alone?

    1. "what is the basis for believing the leaker conspired to do so, rather than acting alone?"

      If the leaker is who many have persuasively alleged it is, they are close and longtime friends with the writer who published the article. Think "attending each others' weddings" close. It would not be hard to prove comspiracy, if there in fact was one.

      1. The conspiracy would require showing that the Poltico writer joined the agreement before the leaker stole the opinion.

        Which is certainly possible, but is there any evidence that it happened?

        1. If there is a conspiracy evidence would be readily available.

          1. I have little doubt that if the leaker engaged in a conspiracy there will be evidence of it. Similarly, if the leaker committed robbery or kidnapping or murder in the course of the leak, I think it's likely that will be detected. My question is why, based on what we know, there's any reason to think there was a conspiracy.

  19. "If it turns out that one of them falsely denied involvement, a Section 1001 charge could be brought."

    DOJ policy is to not prosecute most "exculpatory no" cases. See Justice Manual 9-42.160.

  20. I spent my career in a "white shoe" DC law firm. The kind of firm that a former SC law clerk would dream of joining. I cannot imagine my old firm hiring a former SC clerk who was known to have leaked confidential information about a pending SC case.
    But things change. Maybe there are law firms (or other organizations) that care more about ideaology than ethics -- probably there are. CJ Roberts ought to be thinking about that. In fact, we ALL ought to be thinking about that.

  21. Those who precipitated torture found jobs. Torture. Great jobs. Including federal judgeships.

    Demonstrated racists have been employed — including by a federal judge, placed on a public payroll.

    Did your firm hire any of those complicit in torture? Any known bigots (racists, gay-haters, misogynists, xenophobes, Muslim-bashers, antisemites, etc.?). Any firm similar to your firm?

  22. The analysis assumes that the draft opinion is owned by the Court (or the federal government). How do the libraries of former Justices come into private hands (e.g., Hoover Institute, etc.). The documents are not being donated by the government are they? Are there no draft opinions or memos in those libraries? If there are, how did they get there?

  23. "Perhaps the law clerk "stole" the paper ("thing of value") on which the ruling was printed. If, as is likely, the value of the thing stolen is under $1,000, however, we are in misdemeanor territory."

    Hard to believe that paper with an unreleased draft of a SCOTUS ruling on it is worth less than $1,000.

  24. These guys do seem to be stretching to find a charge. And as to ruining careers, what if it's an IT guy, or hacked, or a janitor, or a Justice (we seem to have established they're immune to absolutely everything), maybe Kavanaugh left his briefcase at a bar, or Ginni Thomas?

    I hope that Roberts approached Garland and Wray to demand an investigation, that both assured him the matter would receive all the attention it deserved, and promptly forgot about it.

    I have only visited DC once. One of my impressions was the huge number of different cop shops. DC cops, Capitol Cops, Park cops, MPs, Smithsonian cops, etc., etc. Now I find out there are Supreme Court cops. Who do basic security and crowd control. Do they even have a criminal investigation capability?

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