Though Trump did not name any particular individual or publication, the draft majority opinion was first reported on in Politico last May by journalists Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward. Trump also called for throwing “the publisher and editor” behind bars.
“Stop playing games, this leaking cannot be allowed to happen,” the former president wrote on his social network Truth Social. “It won’t take long before the name of this slime is revealed!”
The Supreme Court announced in a report published earlier Thursday that its eight-month investigation has been unable to identify the source of the leak. It was the first Supreme Court opinion ever to have been made public before the court announced it.
Some have speculated that Justice Samuel Alito’s explosive draft opinion may have been leaked by a justice or conservative law clerk, potentially so the public had time to adjust to the radical, controversial change in women’s reproductive rights before the actual opinion was issued.
No journalist has been charged with a crime for reporting the draft opinion, nor has anyone been held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal their source in connection with the leak.
News organizations have argued that press freedom under the First Amendment means journalists should be protected from revealing their sources in court. Forty-nine states have laws protecting reporters who refuse to do so.
Politico declined to comment on Trump’s attack.
But White House spokesperson Andrew Bates called “freedom of the press ... part of the bedrock of American democracy” in a statement to Politico.
“Calling for egregious abuses of power in order to suppress the Constitutional rights of reporters is an insult to the rule of law and undermines fundamental American values and traditions,” he added. “Instead, it’s the responsibility of all leaders to protect First Amendment rights. These views are not who we are as a country, and they are what we stand against in the world.”
The leak probe is not completely concluded. Investigators are continuing to “review and process some electronic data that has been collected and a few other inquiries remain pending,” according to the Supreme Court’s report.