In light of a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that drew protesters to justices’ homes, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would make it a crime to leak confidential information from the nation’s highest court.
The bill (pdf), titled Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act, aims to protect a range of information from leaks, including draft and final Supreme Court opinions yet to be released to the public, internal notes on cases heard by the court, communication among justices and their employees about pending cases, personal information of justices that is not otherwise legally available to the public, and “any other information designated to be confidential by the Chief Justice.”
Under the bill, any unauthorized disclosure of these information would be punishable by up to 10 years in jail, along with a $10,000 fine. The offender would also be stripped from profits derived from the leak, which could include book deals or TV contributor contracts.
“The recent leak was an attempt to publicly intimidate justices and undermine the integrity of the Court—all while putting lives at risk,” Cassidy said in a press release. “My bill holds leakers accountable and takes away any hopes of profiting off their crimes.”
Cassidy is joined by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) as cosponsors. They both agree that last month’s leak of the draft opinion on abortion access has harmed the Supreme Court as an institution.
“The leak of a draft opinion of [Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health] 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,” Rubio said, referring to the alleged assassination attempt of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and attacks on pregnancy resource centers across the country.
Nicholas John Roske, a 26-year-old California man, is facing a charge of attempted murder after his arrest near Kavanaugh’s Maryland home. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the man allegedly told police officers who detained him that he was there to kill “a specific Supreme Court Justice.” He was equipped with a pistol, a knife, pepper spray, zip ties, and other burglary tools.
Roske also allegedly told the police that he was upset about the leaked draft opinion, which shows that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is likely to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion on a national level.
Meanwhile, a growing number of pregnancy centers that offer maternal care and counseling services for expecting mothers have been vandalized, including one owned by pro-life organization CompassCare in a Buffalo, New York, suburb that suffered a firebomb attack. Arsonists of the Buffalo clinic left the message “Jane Was Here,” a reference to the pro-abortion group Jane’s Revenge, which ultimately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jim Harden, the CEO of CompassCare, compares the violent attacks on pro-life service centers with the torching and smashing of Jewish-owned properties across Germany under the Nazi regime.
“This is the pro-abortion Kristallnacht,” Harden said in a statement after the Buffalo firebombing. “Because of this act of violence, the needs of women facing unplanned pregnancy will go unmet and babies will die.”