The feds can’t find the Supreme Court leaker. You think they can fix climate change?

Government is not in the problem-solving business. It can’t even plug leaks.

Any government project bigger than building a road should draw your skepticism. 

You should understand titles like “The Inflation Reduction Act” to be fictitious, not a comment on what will happen after a law is passed.

When the U.S. president stands at a podium and announces a plan for regime change in foreign lands, or to eradicate climate change, you should know that’s far beyond their paygrade. They’ll spend your tax money, sure. But government is not in the problem-solving business. 

It can’t even plug leaks.

Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its own words, “suffered one of the worst breaches of trust in its history” when someone leaked a draft opinion in the Dobbs case. This overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling and the federal constitutional right to abortion it created.

“The leak was no mere misguided attempt at protest,” the court said in a report on the leak. “It was a grave assault on the judicial process.”

Grave assaults are pretty serious, and one would expect a serious response. So why did the leak investigation end in failure?

The report notes that “the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

What’s wrong with this picture: The highest court in these United States suffers an “extraordinary betrayal of trust,” and nobody is brought to justice? And the court is admitting to all of this publicly? A leak, but no leaker?

Investigators interviewed 97 employees and got 97 denials. The nine Supreme Court justices were interviewed too, but weren’t asked to sign statements. 

In a statement, Marshal Gail A. Curley said “I followed up on all credible leads, none of which implicated the justices or their spouses. On this basis, I did not believe that it was necessary to ask the justices to sign sworn affidavits.”

A leak, but no leaker. If everybody denies doing it, guess that’s that.

The night of the leak, Twitter sleuths made smart, educated guesses on who the leaker might be, based on the reporter who broke the story, and known interactions of court clerks with the reporter. 

Then they backed off, perhaps thinking the professionals would take it from there. 

Let’s take the court at face value. After a grave breach of the Supreme Court’s trust, its investigators were unable to find the leaker, among a small cohort of people. Not unwilling. Unable.

And then the court announces this inability to the world. 

Rather than deter the next leak, the court’s response invites it. Just say no, and investigators will take you at your word.

When the court suffered an “extraordinary betrayal,” its investigators came home with empty notebooks.

Finding a leaker is easier than “leaving no child behind” or changing global climate. And yet here we are. Grand plans and no execution. Where did all that ambition go?

The next time a politician says they’ll stop the rise of the oceans, remember this moment. Remember what the government told you it couldn’t do: Find one little leaker.

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.