A new measure being proposed by a GOP senator would impose a hefty fine and lengthy prison sentence on anyone convicted of leaking a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) unveiled a bill that would levy a $10,000 fine on leakers along with a 10-year prison sentence.
The legislation comes after last month’s unprecedented leak of a draft opinion written in February by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision legalizing abortion throughout the country.
The Examiner adds:
In an exclusive interview, Cassidy told the Washington Examiner that if the legislation, titled the Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act of 2022, becomes law, it would not be able to imprison or fine anyone responsible for leaking the draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, though it could be used to confiscate any possible profits received by the person or people who leaked the draft.
“There is a portion in there which seizes profit stemming from the crime. So the person who wants to do a book deal where they’re going to profit from what they’ve done, that would be affected,” Cassidy told the outlet, also noting that any media contributions and/or paid speaking engagements would also fall into that category.
“Whoever leaked this draft opinion and any future leakers must face the consequences of the damage they cause,” Cassidy added:
Cassidy cited the attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, as one reason for the Senate to act. The suspect, 26-year-old Nicholas Roske, admitted he was inspired by the leaked draft opinion that signaled the high court was poised to undo nearly 50 years of abortion access precedent established under Roe, according to a criminal affidavit.
“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,” Cassidy added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who supports Cassidy’s bill, said that “you shouldn’t receive a badge of honor or financial reward” for leaking confidential high court documents and that “you should face serious penalties” instead.
In addition, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), who also supports the measure, argued the leak was “done to intimidate justices and influence the outcome of cases.”
While the chamber united to pass legislation providing more security and support to the Supreme Court justices and staff, thus far no Democrats have signed on to Cassidy’s bill.
“I think the radical left base has intimidated people from doing that which is right regarding addressing this leak,” Cassidy said. “It’s easy to imagine a decision under a different court that would have been leaked, triggering a backlash from the Right. Well, the Left would have been, ‘Oh my gosh, we got to prevent it.’”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court released four rulings, but not the highly anticipated decision regarding the fate of Roe.
The Louisiana Republican’s proposal comes a day after former President Donald Trump suggested that authorities press POLITICO reporters Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, the authors of the original article about the leak, to reveal their sources.
“The U.S. Supreme Court MUST find, reveal, and punish the ‘Leaker.’ Very easy to do — Go to the reporter who received the leak,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform.
“The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right,” Politico reported.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he continued in an “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
“We, therefore, hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito added.
Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft was real just a few days later after he authorized an investigation into the leak.
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