The Supreme Court justices are expected to vote on Obamacare Friday, but they won't announce it for weeks -- most people expect it sometime in June -- which makes the health care decision the most sought-after scoop in D.C. The decision almost certainly won't get out early, but that doesn't keep journalists from salivating. (Our own Dashiell Bennett has nominated anyone who gives the decision up in advance for "Leaker of the Decade.") Unfortunately for the press, this is the stuff of fantasy. Leaks from the Supereme Court have been extremely rare. "I think the Supreme Court is the one institution that doesn't leak in modern-day Washington, D.C.," Stephen Engel, a lawyer and former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, told USA Today. A leak would never happen, ThinkProgress Justice tweeted in response to another hungry journalist, Washington Post health policy reporter Sarah Kliff: "Only person who could leak would be a justice or clerk. Clerk would destroy their career."
Leaks don't happen often at the court, but they have, and well before the age of social media. The Associated Press reminds us, "The last apparent security breach occurred more than 30 years ago when Tim O'Brien, then a reporter for ABC News, informed viewers that the court planned to issue a particular opinion the following day. Chief Justice Warren Burger accused an employee in the printing shop of tipping O'Brien and had the employee transferred to a different job." The leaker would be a hero among journalists, yes, but "Leaker of the Decade" is not a paid job -- and any aspirants would certainly lose theirs.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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