The Supreme Court Marshal’s leak probe is new but not rookie

The Marshal of the United States Supreme Court is probably best known for announcing the entrance of the justices at the start of each session with the words “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez”.

But now the recently appointed Field Marshal, Colonel Gail A. Curleyhas a more demanding task, investigating the leak of a draft opinion from Justice Samuel Alito which, if published as written, would overturn abortion rights in the United States, reversing the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

Protesters demonstrate outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington on May 3.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

The unauthorized publication of the project has created a social and political maelstrom in the United States, with protests outside the Supreme Court and federal courthouses across the country. Abortion rights supporters in Congress are calling for sweeping changes, such as increasing the number of justices on the court and eliminating the filibuster in the Senate, while abortion rights opponents are demanding prosecution of the person responsible for leaking the document.

Read more: High Court clerks have everything to lose as the leak probe is launched

Chief Judge John Roberts said in a statement on Tuesday that the leak was a “betrayal of the court’s trust” and ordered the Marshal to investigate its source.

That job falls to Curley, a career Army lawyer who took over in June after the retirement of Pamela Talkin, the first female marshal. Curley became the 11th field marshal in court history.

Curley has a background in security and law, having come to court from the U.S. Army where she was head of the National Security Law Division in the Judge Advocate General’s office.

She oversaw a team of judge advocates and provided legal advice and support on national security law to senior military leaders, according to her Supreme Court profile.

From 2016 to 2019, Curley served as staff judge advocate at U.S. Army Europe Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, where she served as senior U.S. Army counsel for an area comprised of 50 nations and oversaw more than 300 legal professionals. She has also worked in Afghanistan.

At the Supreme Court, Curley manages approximately 260 employees, including the Supreme Court Police, who provide security for the judges, court staff, visitors, the building and surrounding grounds.

While providing security, the Marshal and Supreme Court Police have the authority to make arrests for violations of state or federal law and any regulations. A decision on a prosecution would likely come from the Department of Justice.

Read more: Cover-up believed to be a crime in probe into leaked Supreme Court decision

This is what the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants to see.

“This unlawful action should be investigated and punished as fully as possible,” McConnell said in a statement. “The Department of Justice should pursue criminal charges, if appropriate.”

A dozen Republicans urged the attorney general Merrick Garland in a letter to immediately begin an investigation and demanded a briefing from the department by May 10 on the status of the investigation.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Curley earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991 from the United States Military Academy and earned a JD in 1999 from the University of Illinois College of Law, according to his Supreme Court profile. She received a Master of Laws in 2004 from the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School and a Master of Science in 2014 from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.

In addition to his security duties, the Marshal also pays the salaries of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices.

–With the help of Chris Strohm.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Joe Schneider in Los Angeles at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski to [email protected]

Peter Blumberg

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