Leaked draft opinion suggests Supreme Court could overrule Roe v. Wade

Washington- The Supreme Court appears poised to reverse its landmark rulings establishing the right to abortion, according to a draft opinion obtained and published by Politico, a ruling that — if finalized — would dismantle 50 years of precedent and pave the way for states to drastically reduce abortion rights in the United States.

The leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion is breathtaking and unprecedented in modern times, and has already sent shockwaves through Washington and the nation.

In a statement Tuesday morning, the court confirmed that the document was genuine. Chief Justice John Roberts denounced the leak as a betrayal” and “a singular and flagrant betrayal of trust” which would be fully investigated.

Late Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the court after Politico released the report suggesting the Conservative majority is preparing to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing the right to abortion.

Both Democrats and Republicans issued statements reacting to the draft report and the implications it would have if such a decision were ultimately made. Planned Parenthood tweeted“Let’s be clear: this is a draft opinion. It’s outrageous, it’s unprecedented, but it’s not final. Abortion is your right – and it’s ALWAYS LEGAL.”

The draft published by Politico says it was written by Judge Samuel Alito and released on February 10. He didn’t say which other justices joined the opinion, but Politico noted that a person familiar with the court’s deliberations said four other conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted with Alito to hit Roe in closed-door talks after closing arguments and did not change their positions. It is unclear whether Chief Justice John Roberts will join the Conservative majority, according to Politico.

Abortion protest at Supreme Court
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court on Monday evening, May 2, 2022, after Politico released a draft notice suggesting that a majority of justices intended to overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion nationwide.

Anna Johnson/AP

Judges could change their votes in the days or weeks before the decision is released. The Supreme Court’s opinion in the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves a Mississippi Law banning abortions after 15 weeks and is expected to be delivered before judges complete their terms by the end of June or early July.

Politico said it received a copy of the draft notice “from a person familiar with the court proceedings in the Mississippi case as well as other details supporting the authenticity of the document.”

Roberts calls for a full investigation by the marshal of the court into the leaked draft notice to determine who was the source.

the the judges heard the arguments in the blockbuster dispute involving Mississippi law in December, and by the end of the session, a majority of the court seemed ready to allow the state measure to hold. It was less clear, however, whether five justices would vote to overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe’s fundamental position that states cannot ban abortion before fetal viability, generally considered to be between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.

But according to the leaked draft notice published by Politico, Alito wrote that Roe was “extremely wrong from the start” and his reasoning “exceptionally weak.”

“It’s time to respect the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected officials,” Alito wrote, according to Politico.

Alito, appointed to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush, concluded: “Abortion poses a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Case arrogated this authority to themselves. those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives. »

The document notes that the decision is a “1st draft” and that Alito’s opinion is 67 pages long and is accompanied by a 31-page appendix containing various state laws criminalizing abortion.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe and Casey, as the reported draft opinion suggests, it would mark a long-awaited victory for abortion advocates who for decades have called on the High Court to reconsider its precedents on abortion. ‘abortion.

Former President Donald Trump’s appointment of three conservative justices – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett – expanded the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, and Mississippi officials later called on the Supreme Court to use their legal battle as a vehicle to overthrow Roe and Casey. .

The Guttmacher Institute, an organization that supports abortion rights, has estimated that 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns or strikes down Roe. Some already have laws in place that would if Roe were invalidated, and the governors of Oklahoma and Florida each signed new abortion restrictions into law last month.

A November CBS News Poll indicated that a majority of Americans supported leaving Roe in place. According to the November poll, if Roe is overturned and the matter is left to the states, a majority would want abortion in their own state to be legal in all or most cases: more than six in 10 say so. Only 14% would like their state to make it illegal in any case.

Lawmakers Respond to Draft Notice Leaked by SCOTUS


The draft advisory, as reported by Politico, sparked outrage among congressional Democrats.

“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a hot joint. statement. “The votes reported by Republican-appointed judges to overturn Roe v. Wade would be considered an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.”

Pelosi and Schumer accused the conservative justices of “lying to the US Senate” and “ripping up the US Constitution”. Such a move, they said, would deprive millions of women of their “bodily autonomy and constitutional rights upon which they have relied for half a century.”

The Republican backlash, meanwhile, focused on criticizing the leak as detrimental to the Supreme Court as an institution.

In a statement Tuesday morning, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik said the leak was a “clearly coordinated campaign to intimidate and obstruct Supreme Court justices.” of the United States and its independence in our political system”. , to have complied with the Constitution must be immediately investigated by the courts.” They added, “House Republicans are committed to upholding the sanctity of life.”

Several GOP senators commented on the decision Monday night. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted“The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve the institutions and standards of our Republic, remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the judges on abortion.”

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted that the Supreme Court and Justice Department should use “all necessary investigative tools” to get to the bottom of the leak, but added that he prays that “the court respects the Constitution and allows the state to protect unborn life again”.

Jan Crawford contributed reporting.

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