GOP calls for SCOTUS probe set off alarm bells – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2022-05-08 16:41:26 –

((((Hill) – High-ranking Republicans calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to initiate their own investigation into the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion say that the DOJ will obscure the separation of powers and pursue something. It’s not even a crime that warns you.

Leak begins a pointing round and demands that he turn his head following the historic announcement of a draft opinion that will overturn the Roe v. Wade case.

Chief Justice John Roberts Some Republicans who ordered an investigation by the court’s marshal are concerned that it is not appropriate.

“This illegal activity should be investigated and punished as much as possible,” said a minority leader in the Senate. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said in a floor speech on Tuesday.

“I’m confident that the Chief Judge will try to reach the root of this. If a crime is committed, the Justice Department must pursue it entirely,” McConnell added. ..

Since then, 21 Republicans have sent letters to the Attorney General. Merrick Garland Requesting the involvement of the Justice Department and the FBI, the leaker may have violated a law prohibiting the deletion of judicial officer records, saying that “immediate criminal investigations are clearly justified.”

The DOJ has a long history of involvement in leak investigations, but such work usually follows disclosure in information containing certain national security elements.

Asked about the prospects for the Justice Ministry’s prosecution, Liz Henpowitch, the policy director of the Project On Government Oversight Project, asked, “What crime is it for?”

“So far, if the person who was granted access to the opinion and chose to leak it was the person who worked in the court, the Supreme Court document is not confidential information. As far as I know, the leak itself. There are no criminals that can be prosecuted, “she said.

The Supreme Court Code of Conduct requires lifelong secrecy about the internal workings of the court. According to experts, it is a violation of employment conditions rather than a crime.

“The leaker has undoubtedly committed a fireable crime. The idea of ​​a criminal investigation is much weaker,” National Security Attorney Bradley Moss told Hill in an email.

Some experts Statutory law This allows you to prosecute someone who has “used, stolen, pulled out, or deliberately converted” a record.

Moss said the statue was “the only realistic criminal angle,” assuming that bribes and hacks were not involved in the leak.

“But DOJ’s own internal manual refrains from pursuing the problem if the only thing that was” stolen “was the information itself (such as a draft decision) and the purpose of the” theft “was to disseminate it to the public. It shows that. It would seem to rule out pursuing prosecution in this case, “he said.

Republicans Another decree It focuses on those who “tort, delete, cut, delete, or destroy” records “submitted or deposited to a secretary or officer in a US court.”

“Anyone who leaks this draft opinion is seriously damaging the integrity of the Supreme Court’s reputation and should be blamed promptly to the fullest extent of the law,” said John Rose. R-Tenn.) Is a colleague who wrote with him.

However, Mr. Moss said the prosecution under such law presupposes that access to the document is not granted.

Even with the grounds for the investigation, it is not clear whether either group is eager for the government to be involved in the court.

The Supreme Court has long valued its privacy and independence. This is one of the reasons why leaks are so remarkable. Meanwhile, the DOJ has recently been closely monitored for how leak investigations are conducted and has promised not to summon journalists.

“I imagine the Supreme Court judge will raise some concerns about the separation of powers,” Hempowicz said.

“That is, we have to fight for telephone access to oral discussions. They don’t just accept public scrutiny and scrutiny easily,” Henpowitch added.

Garland has so far avoided asking questions about the potential involvement of the DOJ.

“The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has announced that the Marshal of the Court will conduct an investigation,” he said.

It is unlikely that the DOJ will make such a move without an invitation.

“If the DOJ begins to plunge into the internal mechanics of the court, the separation of powers concerns will be severely separated, which is why Judge Roberts currently has a marshal in charge of the investigation. No doubt, if they find something that deserves a criminal investigation, they can always refer it to the Department of Justice at that time, “Moss said.

A possible midpoint is that the court may seek technical assistance from the FBI in conducting the investigation.

“The Supreme Court may quickly conclude that no one has the resources, experience, knowledge, etc., to carry out the kind of rigorous investigation of the kind of high visibility needed here.” I am. David Seide, a lawyer for the Government Accountability Project, who has worked on internal investigations both inside and outside the federal government for years.

“It’s like being asked who the Deep Throat is. Serious investigation is needed,” he said, referring to the source of the Watergate scandal.

Marshall’s research needs to evaluate not only the interviews with employees, but even the details of the scanned documents.

“They need people with technical expertise and forensic analysis skills that are unlikely to be in the Supreme Court,” says Seide.

“What is the organization that has that skill set and is good at research? Obviously, the FBI has it,” Seide added.

Some lawmakers are open about their hope that the FBI will eventually conduct an interview in court.

“We’re trying to find out what the Justice Department is made of,” Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) Said this week.

“Everyone who accesses this leaked document will be visited by the FBI, and anyone who leaks this document must tell the truth or lie to an FBI agent. [to] Criminal charge. So let’s expect our Department of Justice to do the job, “Kennedy added.

Democrats argued that their GOP colleagues should be more concerned about the content of the leaked draft than the fact that it was shared with the public.

“I don’t care how the draft leaked. It’s a side show,” wrote Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in a tweet. “What I care about is that a few conservative judges who lied about their plans for the Senate are trying to rob millions of women of reproductive care.”

Hempowicz has expressed concern that a thorough scrutiny may discourage others from sharing concerns about abuse and misconduct elsewhere in the government.

“This kind of research to find out who the leaker is has a chilling effect,” she said. “This idea of ​​chasing this person with his own identity is not good from a public policy perspective.”

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