The search for the leak to the Supreme Court rests with the former army colonel – thereporteronline
WASHINGTON (AP) – When less than a year ago Gail Curley began her work as a Marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court, she expected to work mostly behind the scenes: overseeing the police force of the court and the operation of the marble building where judges work.
Her most public role was to be in the courtroom, where the marshal knocks with a hammer and announces the entrance to the court of nine judges. Her short script includes “Oyez! Oyez! Oise! ” – which means “listen” – and concludes: “God save the United States and this honorable court.”
Earlier this month, however, Curley was given a grand task of overseeing an unprecedented breach of Supreme Court secrecy, a leaked draft opinion and a clear vote on a major abortion case. Leaks in Politico suggest the court seems ready to overturn Rowe v. Wade’s 1973 ruling that women have a constitutional right to abortion. This sparked protests and round-the-clock security at judges ’homes, demonstrations in court and concerns about violence following the court’s final decision.
People who know the 53-year-old Curley have described the former army colonel and military lawyer as a man with the right temperament for a very intense investigation into the leaks: smart, private, apolitical and hardly intimidating.
“I am sure that if the truth can be found out here, she will find out and show it impartially,” said the retired foreman. General Patrick Houston, its immediate supervisor at the Pentagon on his last military work before the Supreme Court. Houston said he was incredibly impressed with Curley and that she had a huge reputation as a leader, but even as her boss he didn’t know if she had a husband or children.
Through a court representative, Curley denied the request for an interview. She is the 11th Marshal of the Court and the second woman in that position. She is also somewhat limited in her investigation by her position, which was established immediately after the 1867 Civil War. Experts say the leak of the draft was probably not a crime, and Curley’s investigation tools are limited. Theoretically, she could hire an outside law firm to help, and in other court cases, the FBI was called. But it is unclear whether she or others have the right to issue subpoenas to obtain materials from journalists or less than 100 people in court – including judges – with access to the draft opinion.
There seem to be no real precedents in the investigation. In 1973, the outcome of Rowe’s case leaked hours before its announcement. The chief judge at the time was furious and threatened to check with a lie detector, but the human rights activist quickly spoke out and explained that it was an accident.
Even if circumstances are different, overseeing the investigation is not new to Curley. In her military career, she typically oversaw a dozen or more criminal and administrative investigations and oversaw a large number of attorneys and paralegals, Houston said. She has been an authority on international law and laws related to armed conflict, but investigations she has overseen throughout her career could range from a wide range of criminal cases involving military personnel to contracts. Houston described her as “not one of those people ever intimidated.”
Curley began her military career at West Point, where just under 10% of 1991 graduates were women. Lisa Friedel, a member of the same 25-member company as Curley, remembered her as kind and diligent, but also a “pretty serious person.”
“She didn’t like the stupidity of some guys, some guys in our company. They were young people. They are doing nonsense. She didn’t like it, “Freudel recalled, adding that Curley” wanted to be surrounded by intellectuals, people who were smart enough to challenge her. “
In the West Point yearbook, Curley was named “Swirlin ‘Curl”, in which her hometown was named Baltimore. She was something of an introvert, Freudel said, adding that she had never met Curley’s parents, only her aunt and uncle, and couldn’t remember her talking about siblings.
At school, Curley was interested in American politics and government, which coincided with one of West Point’s requirements: knowledge of current affairs. The New York Times delivered every morning, and the Cadets had to report on four newspaper articles each day, Freudel recalled.
“You had to make sure your shoes were polished, the belt buckles and everything before molding, and try to memorize the paper,” she said.
However, Curley found time for extracurricular activities. The Home Affairs Club, of which she was a member, made a trip to Washington in its final year, which included a meeting with Judge Sandra Day O’Connor. “See you at the White House someday!” her entry in the yearbook reads.
After graduation she entered the Army Communications Service, which is responsible for setting up communications systems in the field.
“I was very lucky in my career,” Curley said of the time in a 2017 news article. “As a young liaison officer, I was able to lead a large platoon in Europe during my first assignment … it was at a time when women were not allowed to serve as platoon leaders in certain jobs.”
She eventually earned a law degree from the University of Illinois Law College and became an Army Lawyer. Her career during the year led her across the United States as well as to Afghanistan. She later spent three years in Germany as the chief legal adviser to the U.S. Army Commander in Europe.
Lieutenant General Charles Pede, now a retired Advocate General of the Army who chose her for the appointment, called it a “big deal”. In Germany, Curley was a senior military lawyer who oversaw about 300 legal officials across Europe, compared to the European office of a major law firm. Pede called Kerley a “powerful intellect” but also a practical problem solver and one who can quickly build a good relationship with just about anyone. She also plays golf well, he said.
In Europe, Curley’s first commander was Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who is now retired, and then Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli. Kavoli, now a four-star general who was nominated earlier this month for the post of Supreme Allied Commander. Hodges described Curley’s work as providing “legal review and advice on the millions of things we’ve done.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever met a more honest person,” Hodges said, adding that Kerley also had a sense of humor and “a real dose of humility.”
The three-star general said that because he liked and respected her so much, he sometimes teased her. She had no problem holding on, he said.
“She was confident knowing that her IQ was about 40 points higher than mine,” he said. “And so she could afford to be confident.”
AP reporter Ben Fox of Washington and AP researcher Jennifer Farrar of New York City contributed to the report.