Wisconsin Representatives Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) co-sponsored a bill that would make leaking a Supreme Court draft a federal crime.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA-04) and known as the “Leaker Accountability Act of 2022,” would mandate a potential fine or up to 5 years imprisonment, if an individual were to be convicted.
The bill follows a leak of an initial draft opinion from the Court that signaled they may overturn Roe v. Wade, a move that would cause uproar among individuals that support abortion
“The unauthorized leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health constitutes a grave breach of judicial ethics and a deliberate attack on the independence of the Supreme Court,” Johnson said. “This legislation is now, unfortunately, a necessary step to discourage future such attempts to intimidate justices during their deliberative process and restore independence to the Court so that it can ensure the American people are afforded equal and impartial justice under the law. The institution of the Court has been damaged and we must do what we can to try to repair it.”
The legislation would also apply to any notes, private conversations, personal information about justices, and other matters that may be deemed confidential by the chief justice.
“In response to the leaked Dobbs draft opinion, there has been widespread agreement on one thing – it is entirely unclear whether the leaker can face any legal liability. Representative Mike Johnson’s Leaker Accountability Act fixes that problem,” said Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks President. “The bill makes it a crime to knowingly share confidential information from the Supreme Court – punishable by a fine, up to 5 years in prison, or both. It defines confidential information broadly to reach internal notes on cases, communications between justices on matters pending before the Court, draft opinions, final opinions before they are issued, and any other information the chief justice designates as confidential. This bill is a common-sense response to a horrible situation to ensure it never happens again.”
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Wisconsin Daily Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]