Republican lawmakers seek to punish any future Supreme Court leakers with up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for disclosing private court information without authorization.
Along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss. ) Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has introduced legislation that would impose additional criminal sanctions on those who divulge information about ongoing Supreme Court cases. The Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act, which they have proposed, is a response to the extraordinary leak of a draft opinion in May, which suggested the court had decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Cassidy said in a statement:
“The recent leak was an attempt to publicly intimidate justices and undermine the integrity of the Court — all while putting lives at risk. My bill holds leakers accountable and takes away any hopes of profiting off their crimes.”
“Whoever leaked this draft opinion and any future leakers must face the consequences of the damage they cause,” Cassidy said.
One reason for the Senate to take action on this proposed law is the recent attempt to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The suspect, Nicholas Roske, 26, claimed that the draft Roe V. Wade opinion that was released was a key factor in his decision to try Kavanaugh’s life.
“The attempted assassination of a sitting United States Supreme Court justice was a direct result of the dangerous and unprecedented leak. While the mainstream media may ignore this horrific story targeting a conservative justice, the American people want the leaker to be held accountable.”
In Cassidy’s press release, she listed a number of details that could not be revealed to the public without permission, including:
- Internal notes on cases heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.
- Any communication between the chief justice of the United States or an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and an employee or officer of the Supreme Court on a matter pending before the Supreme Court.
- Communication between officers and employees of the Supreme Court of the United States on a matter pending before the Supreme Court.
- A draft opinion or a final opinion prior to the date on which such opinion is released to the public.
- Personal information of the chief justice of the United States or an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States that is not otherwise legally available to the public.
- Any other information designated to be confidential by the chief justice of the United States.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has endorsed the proposal and stated that anyone caught leaking information relating to national security or rights “should face serious penalties,” not a badge of honor or financial reward.
“The leak of a draft opinion of Dobbs not only undermined the integrity of our judicial system, but also continues to spur threats of violence against Supreme Court Justices and crisis pregnancy centers. This bill would ensure that leaked confidential information from the Supreme Court is a criminal offense.”
Washington is currently on high alert as they wait for the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, which may come as early as Thursday. Security concerns have been raised as a result of the leak, and politicians have considered measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
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