Leaked Opinion to Strike Down Roe v. Wade Rattles Nation
The leaked draft from Justice Samuel Alito appears to represent a majority opinion by the US Supreme Court to strike down the landmark decision.
The news site Politico sent shockwaves across the country Monday night when it published what appears to be an initial draft majority opinion — written by Justice Samuel Alito and reportedly circulated inside the court — suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court intends to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to NPR.
Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the document in a statement on Tuesday morning, but says it does not represent the court's final position. He's also ordered the Supreme Court marshal to investigate the leak.
Excerpt from NPR: Striking down Roe effectively would end federal protection for abortion rights, opening the door for states to ban or restrict access to the procedure. While such a ruling would have enormous consequences, legal experts and onlookers alike are also struck by how the draft opinion made its way into public view in the first place. Leaks of any kind are rare at the Supreme Court, and there hasn't been such a massive breach in modern history. [The leak] undermines everything the body stands for internally and institutionally, including its members' trust in their law clerks and in each other.
Joe Biden has warned that a leaked draft supreme court ruling overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 case which guaranteed the right to abortion, would represent a huge change in America law and could imperil a wide range of other civil rights, reports The Guardian.
The US president called the provisional court opinion "radical" and said the ruling, if handed down, would represent a "fundamental shift in American jurisprudence" and could imperil rights including same-sex marriage and access to contraception.
Excerpt from The Guardian: In a historic moment that shook the US to the core and highlighted jagged social and political divisions, the court confirmed the draft was authentic but said it did not “represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case." On Tuesday the chief justice, John Roberts, called its leak a “betrayal of the confidences of the court” which could “undermine the integrity of our operations”, and promised an investigation. The final ruling of the court will not be made until June.
According to Axios, the immediate, potentially life-altering implications for millions of women would be enormous. For the court to so thoroughly and unreservedly toss out its own precedents would have history-altering implications for that institution, and this leak will unleash months of intense public and political pressure on the justices to take a narrower tack.
Excerpt from Axios: Politico reported that five justices had voted initially to overturn Roe — Justice Sam Alito, who wrote the opinion, and Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. CNN's Joan Biskupic quotes sources as saying Chief Justice John Roberts doesn't want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade — meaning he apparently will dissent, likely with the court's three liberals. Democrats will spend the next several weeks hoping to peel a vote away from that majority or to push the court to adopt a more incremental ruling.