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things have escalated

SCOTUS officials to reportedly ask clerks for phone records in leak investigation

Supreme Court officials are reportedly taking an "unprecedented" step and asking law clerks to provide their cell phone records and sign affidavits as part of an investigation into the leak of a Roe v. Wade-related draft opinion, CNN reports per three individuals with knowledge of the matter. 

Some clerks are apparently so taken aback by the requests for private data that "they have begun exploring whether to hire outside counsel," CNN writes. "That's what similarly situated individuals would do in virtually any other government investigation," one appellate lawyer told CNN, noting it would be "hypocritical" if the court prohibited its own employees from taking advantage of "fundamental legal protection."

Sources have also said that the exact language and scope of the affidavits and phone records requests are not yet clear. 

Chief Justice John Roberts met with law clerks following the bombshell breach, "but it is not known whether any systematic individual interviews have occurred," CNN notes. The now-heightened level of scrutiny suggests officials have been so far unsuccessful in determining the source of the leak, which revealed the court poised to overturn federal abortion rights as protected under the 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade.

A ruling on the case at the center of the draft opinion — Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization — is expected by the end of June.