According to a report from the Washington Examiner, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy will propose new legislation Thursday that would hold future Supreme Court leakers accountable with a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison for releasing information about pending decisions.
The move comes as a response to last month’s leaked draft opinion that appears to show the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.
Cassidy told the Washington Examiner that if the legislation, titled the Stop Supreme Court Leakers Act of 2022, becomes law, it would not be able to imprison or fine anyone responsible for leaking the draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
However, Cassidy did note that it could be used to confiscate any possible profits received by the person or people who leaked the draft.
“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,” Cassidy said. He clarified to reporters that any media contributions or paid speaking engagements resulting from a leak would fall into the same category.
“Whoever leaked this draft opinion and any future leakers must face the consequences of the damage they cause,” Cassidy said.
The recent assassination attempt on Justice Brett Kavanaugh is one reason for the Senate to act on this proposed legislation.
The suspect, 26-year-old Nicholas Roske, said the leaked draft opinion regarding Roe V Wade was a critical element in his decision to make an attempt on Kavanaugh’s life.
“The attempted assassination of a sitting United States Supreme Court justice was a direct result of the dangerous and unprecedented leak. While the mainstream media may ignore this horrific story targeting a conservative justice, the American people want the leaker to be held accountable,” Cassidy said.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has backed the legislation, asserting that “you shouldn’t receive a badge of honor or financial reward” for leaking documents that pertain to national rights and security and that “you should face serious penalties” as a result of any such action.
According to Cassidy, the bill is also supported by Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Hyde-Smith said that she believes the leak was “done to intimidate justices and influence the outcome of cases.”
The Senate passed a recent measure to extend security detail for the families of Supreme Court justices with bipartisan support. However, Cassidy’s proposed bill has not received the support of lawmakers across the aisle in the Democratic-led Senate.
The leak has created security concerns, and lawmakers have discussed actions to curb such events from occurring in the future. For now Washington is on high alert as they await the final ruling from the Supreme Court as early as Thursday.
While protests around the country have been largely peaceful, law enforcement officials in the nation’s capital have braced for potential security risks. Recently, an 8-foot-tall fence was installed around parts of the Supreme Court building, and crews set up concrete Jersey barriers blocking the street in front of the court.