The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was monumental. However, the fact that the opinion was leaked beforehand is almost as significant.
Justice Neil Gorsuch said the investigation into the leak continues and a full report should soon be released though it wasn't clear if that will be made public, the Washington Examiner reported. Gorsuch made these remarks Thursday at the 10th Circuit Bench & Bar Conference at Colorado's Broadmoor resort.
"The chief justice appointed an internal committee to oversee the investigation," Gorsuch told attendees. "That committee has been busy, and we're looking forward to their report, I hope, soon," he added.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was decided 6-3, with the liberal justices dissenting. Gorsuch decried the release of the draft prior to the official decision on June 24, the likes of which he worries will jeopardize the judicial process.
"Improper efforts to influence judicial decision-making, from whatever side, are a threat," Gorsuch said. "They inhibit our capacity to communicate with one another," he said, noting that the ability to bounce ideas off of each other unguarded "improves our final products."
"I very much hope we get to the bottom of this sooner or later," Gorsuch said. There's no doubt that sussing out the source of the leak and punishing the leaker is vital to stopping this from happening again.
Although Gorsuch didn't reference a specific incident, it's clear that he is right to worry about the impact this breach had on allowing justices to do their jobs without fear of reprisal or pressure from the outside. Just weeks before the final opinion was released, an armed suspect showed up at Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Maryland home because he was angry about the forthcoming decision, the New York Post reported.
Death threats and assassination attempts stemming from a leak can shake even the most steadfast jurists. There must be a system in place to make sure this can never happen again.