A new bill introduced by House Republicans would make it a federal crime to leak unapproved documents from the Supreme Court.
The new bill, dubbed the Leaker Accountability Act, could see employees of the court fined or even spend up to five years in federal prison.
The bill was introduced by House GOP’s Conference Vice Chair, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, and signed onto by a dozen Republican members of the House. The action comes after a draft decision to reverse the decision of Roe v Wade was leaked from the Supreme Court, causing national unrest and leading to dangerous situations for the conservative leaning justices on the Court.
“The unauthorized leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health constitutes a grave breach of judicial ethics and a deliberate attack on the independence of the Supreme Court,” Johnson said Tuesday in a statement. “This legislation is now, unfortunately, a necessary step to discourage future such attempts to intimidate justices during their deliberative process and restore independence to the Court so that it can ensure the American people are afforded equal and impartial justice under the law.”
“The institution of the Court has been damaged and we must do what we can to try to repair it,” the congressman added.
It has also been reported that the Supreme Court is actively conducting their own investigation into the leak. According to a report from CNN, law clerks are now being asked to hand over their personal cell phone records and sign affidavits in the hunt for the leaker.
Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed Supreme Court Marshal Gail A. Curley to lead the investigation to track down the leaker. The fact that they believe it was one of the Clerks is nearly unheard of. Holding a one-year clerkship in the Court is one of the most prestigious jobs in the country, often qualifying the individual for high level government and judicial positions. Most of the current Supreme Court Justices had previously clerked for the Court themselves.
The decision to reverse Roe v Wade has become one of the most contentious issues facing our country today. While it would not outlaw abortion in the United States, it would allow individual states to determine their own abortion policies. Prior to the decision, abortion was treated as a constitutional right under the 14th Amendment.
Democrats are now suggesting they want to legislate abortion access as a national right from Congress. While it is possible, they would need a significant number of extra votes to do so, something they cannot achieve in the current climate.
Do you think the punishments suggested by Republicans are harsh enough for someone who leaks a Supreme Court document? What do you think the consequences should be?