The Supreme Court is grappling with one of the most significant revelations of a government secret in half a century: the release of a draft opinion that sets the stage for overturning Roe v. Veal, writes Jeremy Peters of the New York Times.
But unlike the 1971 Pentagon Papers, whose source, defense contractor Daniel Ellsberg, as indicated by a federal grand jury for theft – this time the leak came from inside the building.
Whether the journalists who published the article will suffer any repercussions is still an open question. For a number of reasons, Peters writes, the case falls into a First Amendment dark zone, which generally protects the publication of a leak but not the leaker:
There is no written law or code of conduct that would suggest how an investigation into such a violation should proceed, or whether the Politico reporters who uncovered the draft will be overwhelmed by the kind of criminal investigation required by top Republican lawmakers.
Unlike the Pentagon Papers, the government study of the country’s involvement in Vietnam, the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was not confidential information. The leakage of confidential information is a crime. Instead, the recent leak broke Supreme Court conventions on secrecy, a crime punishable with nearly a few career deaths but little else.
Given the scale of the leak and the aggressiveness with which federal prosecutors have pursued high-profile reporters and reporters in recent years, a criminal investigation is not unthinkable, legal experts said. And while no one suggests that Politico violated any law in the course of publishing his article on the draft opinion, that doesn’t mean the journalists involved would be spared from government pressure to reveal their sources if a grand jury were called to look into the allegations. against the traitor