When it comes to the security of the Supreme Court, the stakes are incredibly high. With the recent leak of a draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade, it is clear that the court needs to take security much more seriously. A new report from CNN reveals that the justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive transmissions, printers that didn’t produce logs, and “burn bags” meant to ensure the safe destruction of materials were left open and unattended in hallways.
The court’s lax internal procedures have been an issue for years, with justices being slow to adopt to the technology and some court employees being too nervous to confront them. This lack of security protocols meant that the justices weren’t setting an example to take security seriously. In response to the leak, the court issued a road map to improve security and hired former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to review and endorse the internal investigation.
The court’s report and new revelations of weak protocols come as the court is trying to protect its own legitimacy. One of the issues discussed in the report was the destruction of court sensitive documents, which had vulnerabilities that needed to be addressed. Three former employees told CNN of loose security around burn bags that are supplied to chambers to deal with sensitive documents.
Another vulnerability outlined by the report was printer logs meant to track document production. A former employee highlighted that employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, making it difficult to track copies. The court also did not have any mechanisms to check what was actually being taken from the court.
The Supreme Court needs to take security much more seriously and implement better protocols to protect its documents and information. The court’s lax internal procedures have been an issue for years and the recent leak of a draft opinion is evidence of the need for better security measures. The court has issued a road map to improve security, but it is up to the justices to set an example and take security seriously.