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Counting Up To A Supreme Courtroom Leak

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the volokh conspiracy Counting Up To A Supreme Courtroom Leak

Often on the Supreme Courtroom, the one quantity that issues is 5. Or so Justice Brennan (allegedly) mentioned. However with respect to the leak investigation, the magic quantity is 97. In line with the Marshal’s report, “97 personnel” had been interviewed for a complete of “126 formal interviews.” Apparently, “many” personnel–not more than 29–had been “interviewed greater than as soon as.” How will we rely as much as 97? We will speculate.

The report identifies two classes of personnel: “momentary (regulation clerks) and everlasting workers.” I don’t suppose the 9 Justices could be included within the class of “everlasting workers.” Certainly, it doesn’t appear seemingly that the Justices had been even interviewed.

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In OT 2021, there have been a complete of 37 regulation clerks. Every of the 9 energetic Justices had 4 clerks, plus Justice Kennedy had one clerk who was seemingly (although not confirmed) detailed to one of many chambers. (Lately, the Kennedy clerk hung out within the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh chambers). These numbers would counsel that there have been 60 everlasting workers who had been interviewed.

The report states that “along with the Justices, 82 workers had entry to digital or onerous copies of the draft opinion.” Once more, if we assume there have been 37 regulation clerks, then there have been 45 everlasting workers who had entry to the opinion. However we all know that 60 everlasting workers had been interviewed. So roughly 15 everlasting workers, who didn’t have entry to the opinion, had been nonetheless interviewed by the clerk.

The report explains how the draft opinion was circulated:

On February 10, the draft opinion was despatched through e mail to a distribution checklist consisting of regulation clerks and everlasting personnel who work on opinions. The vote memos had been additionally subsequently despatched to this checklist.

Earlier than diving into the numbers, I will make a tech remark: e mail distribution checklist?! Does the Supreme Courtroom not use a shared-drive with doc entry management? Electronic mail is kind of probably essentially the most un-secure methodology of transmitting info. The Marshal discovered that “[t]he present platform for case-related paperwork seems to be old-fashioned and in want of an overhaul.” Agreed. Again to the numbers.

There have been 70 distinctive, energetic customers on the distribution checklist.

If there have been 37 regulation clerks on the checklist, then there have been 33 everlasting workers on the checklist. Earlier, we calculated that 45 everlasting workers had entry to the opinion. Who had been the opposite 12 folks with entry to the opinion?

The Marshal accounted for 2 of these folks, who obtained onerous copies:

The draft majority opinion was additionally distributed in onerous copy to some Chambers. The 2 Chambers personnel who weren’t on the e-mail distribution checklist would have had entry to the circulated onerous copies and to some other copies that had been printed in Chambers.

Who had been these Chambers personnel who would have had entry to the onerous copies, however not the e-mail copies? Maybe a secretary, or judicial assistant? Why do some, however not all Chambers obtain paper copies? I think a few of the extra tech-savvy chambers are paper free, and don’t want any paper copies submitting out and in of the workplace.

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Greater than a month later, there have been copies circulated to eight extra folks:

On March 22, eight extra everlasting personnel obtained the draft opinion through e mail.

This complete doesn’t embrace any regulation clerks. Solely everlasting personnel. And the report doesn’t point out these had been “Chambers personnel.” Presumably, these had been folks outdoors the chambers. I am unsure why a draft opinion, that was practically a month previous, could be circulated at this level to eight extra folks.

The report signifies two extra everlasting personnel accessed the opinion by “separate means” (unclear what these means had been):

The investigators additionally discovered that two further everlasting personnel accessed the draft opinion electronically by separate means.

The report signifies that 80 personnel, complete, had digital entry to the opinion:

In sum, the investigators decided that 80 personnel obtained or had entry to digital copies of the draft opinion.

And earlier, the report acknowledged that 82 personnel had both digital or onerous copies.

The investigators decided that along with the Justices, 82 workers had entry to digital or onerous copies of the draft opinion 

My numbers match the report:

  • 37 regulation clerks;
  • 33 everlasting workers on the February distribution checklist;
  • 2 Chamber personnel who obtained onerous copies;
  • 8 everlasting workers who obtained the opinion in March;
  • 2 everlasting workers who obtained the opinion by “separate means”

That is a complete of 37 regulation clerks and 43 everlasting workers, for a grand complete of 82 personnel who had both digital or onerous copies.

Once more, 97 folks had been interviewed, who weren’t a part of this batch of 82 personnel. We have no idea who these 15 folks had been.

Supply

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