SCOTUS marshal didn’t ‘believe it was necessary’ to have Justices sign sworn affidavits in leak probe

With outrage mounting over the failure of the monthslong internal Supreme Court investigation to uncover the identity of the individual who leaked an explosive draft memo to the media last year, the court’s marshal said that none of the justices were required to sign sworn affidavits, unlike everyone else who was interviewed.

On Thursday, the nation’s highest court announced that the search for the culprit who provided Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the case that would end up overturning abortion rights landmark Roe v. Wade to Politico reporters was fruitless and that the leaker of what the court called “one of the worst betrayals of trust in its history,” would remain a mystery.

The following day, Marshal Gail Curley, who was tasked with heading up the investigation, released a statement revealing that the justices were taken for their word without being made to sign the sworn statements that would make any falsehood subject to perjury.

“During the course of the investigation, I spoke with each of the Justices, several on multiple occasions. The Justices actively cooperated in this iterative process, asking questions and answering mine. I followed up on all credible leads, none of which implicated the Justices or their spouses. On this basis, I did not believe that it was necessary to ask the Justices to sign sworn affidavits,” Curley said in the Friday statement.

Curley’s explanation that the justices were only spoken with and not subjected to interviews like everyone else may lead some to come away with the impression that they received special treatment.

“Sworn affidavits were THE main tool that the marshal used to secure truthful statements from everyone she interviewed because lying on an affidavit is a crime. Yet the justices were exempt from this requirement,” tweeted Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern.

“The marshal’s justification for not making the justices sign sworn affidavits is odd. She says no ‘credible leads … implicated the justices or their spouses.’ OK, but surely that was true of many of the other 82 people who were interviewed. Yet they had to sign affidavits,” he said.

“Again, the marshal’s report makes a HUGE deal about the fact that every possible suspect had to sign a sworn affidavit saying they weren’t the leaker, because lying on an affidavit is a crime. But the justices were exempt from this requirement? For reasons that don’t make sense?” Stern added.

He noted that an explanation was missing from Curley, “If the marshal was so certain the justices weren’t involved with the leak, she could’ve simply asked them to sign a sworn affidavit saying so, just like everyone else. It would not have been difficult. If she has a good reason for refusing to do so, she has not provided it!”

According to a report on the investigation results, the SCOTUS sleuth who was directed by Chief Justice John Roberts to find the leaker came up empty.

“In following up on all available leads … the Marshal’s team performed additional forensic analysis and conducted multiple follow-up interviews of certain employees,” the court said. “But the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

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