GOP Sen. Cassidy submits bill to imprison and fine future SCOTUS leakers

The Supreme Court may have finally officially released its ruling on a major abortion rights case, but that hasn’t stopped efforts to find who leaked a draft copy of that decision nearly two months ago or to hold them accountable for such actions.

In that regard, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) just introduced legislation that would punish future Supreme Court leakers with a hefty fine and lengthy prison sentence while also seizing any monetary profits derived from the leak, the Conservative Brief reported.

This legislation, if passed, would not be applied retroactively to whoever leaked the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization draft opinion — though it would bar future profits for that leaker — but rather is intended to strongly discourage any future leaks from the Supreme Court.

“Future leakers must face the consequences”

The Washington Examiner reported that Sen. Cassidy’s bill is called the Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act of 2022 and it was introduced in direct response to the controversial May 2 publishing by Politico of a leaked draft opinion from February that indicated a majority of the court was set to overrule as unconstitutional the abortion rights precedents of 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Cassidy acknowledged that his bill, if it became law, couldn’t be used to fine or imprison the leaker of the Dobbs opinion, but it could be utilized to seize any profits that individual(s) might make in the future because of the leak.

“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,” the senator explained and noted that paid speaking gigs or cable news appearances would also constitute profit derived from a crime.

“Whoever leaked this draft opinion and any future leakers must face the consequences of the damage they cause,” Cassidy said.

10 years in prison, $10,000 fine, future profits seized

According to a press release from Sen. Cassidy’s office, his bill would impose a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison for anyone who leaks confidential information from the Supreme Court. It would also seize any profits gained from book deals, cable news contributor contracts, or paid speaking appearances.

As to what constitutes confidential material that would be criminal if leaked, that of course includes draft copies of unpublished opinions, internal notes on cases, internal communications between justices and officers and employees on matters pending before the court, and personal information about justices that is not otherwise available to the public.

“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 the statement. “My bill holds leakers accountable and takes away any hopes of profiting off their crimes.”

Investigation to find Dobbs leaker ongoing

It is worth noting that Sen. Cassidy’s bill has already been co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).

Meanwhile, according to multiple recent reports, the investigation to identify and hold accountable the individual(s) responsible for leaking the draft Dobbs opinion remains ongoing, and hopefully will be resolved in a public manner in the near future.

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