The Volokh Conspiracy

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Supreme Court Issues Summary of Dobbs Leak Investigation

More thorough than I expected, although not what the FBI could have done.


The Supreme Court has issued a statement and overview about the current status of the Dobbs leak investigation.  The Marshal has not identified who leaked the Dobbs draft.  But they describe the investigation in a lot more detail than you normally expect to get. My overall take: They did a very comprehensive investigation inside the building, but, being only the Marshal and her staff, they didn't do much of an investigation outside the building.

Inside the building, they found that 82 people other than the Justices had access to the draft; interviewed 97 people, obtained statements under oath from them that they had not leaked the draft; and conducted a forensic examination of the Court's network to look for outside intrusions or insider disclosures.  But as far as I can tell, the Marshal and her team didn't conduct the kind of investigation outside the building that the FBI could have done.  No surprise; that's not what the Marshal would be expected to do.  But that means that (as far as I can tell from the report) they didn't obtain legal process and collect phone or Internet records, get warrants, or anything like that.  The investigators did search the few court-issued laptops and phones that some employees had, and they asked employees to volunteer their own phone and text non-content call records during a relevant period.  But the "limited" records that were volunteered didn't reveal anything.

On the whole, this was a more thorough investigation than I expected, given the limited investigatory tools of the Marshal.  But it doesn't look like the kind of full criminal investigation that an outside law enforcement agency could have conducted.  And it's not quite done yet: According to the report, the Marshal and her team are still pursuing some leads, so the investigation isn't entirely over.