A draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which was distributed within the Supreme Court and acquired by POLITICO after it was leaked indicates the Supreme Court has in fact voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The leak is believed to have come from the staff of one of the liberal justices, and possibly even one of the justices themselves, in order to pressure the conservative justices to change their vote as protests & possible unrest takes place.
#BREAKING: Barricades are up around the #SupremeCourt after an unprecedented leak suggesting that the court’s justices are ready to overturn #RoeVWade. Activists on both sides of the abortion issue facing off. Strong reactions – Tonight at 11 from ABC7. https://t.co/9xY0JfdSD7 pic.twitter.com/8r9vpb44JX
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 3, 2022
Every one of these people must be arrested for insurrection and threatening democracy.
They are interfering with the function of a branch of government and their constitutional duties.
Lock them in DC jails with no bail.
These are the rules now. pic.twitter.com/Zji3yDKqWu
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 3, 2022
In the draft opinion, the justices provide a ringing denunciation of the 1973 ruling that guaranteed the right to abortion under the federal constitution and a 1992 decision that effectively maintained it, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in the draft.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he stated in the document, which is titled “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Major decisions are often subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before they are announced, as draft opinions circulate and draft opinions are subject to multiple revisions. Until the court’s ruling is published, likely within the next two months, the ruling is not final.
CBS News’ Elizabeth Campbell reports that Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will likely enlist the FBI in investigating the SCOTUS leak of the Dobbs case abortion case.
“This is an unprecedented leak from SCOTUS. It raises questions about how the institution will ever recover, and how Chief Justice Roberts will respond,” Campbell posted on Twitter.
This is an unprecedented leak from #SCOTUS. It raises questions about how the institution will ever recover, and how Chief Justice Roberts will respond.
Sources tonight tell @JanCBS he is likely to order a full-blown investigation, involving the FBI, to determine the source.
— Elizabeth Campbell (@ECampbell360) May 3, 2022
“Sources tonight tell [CBS News’ Jan Crawford] he is likely to order a full-blown investigation, involving the FBI, to determine the source,” Campbell continued.
As reported by Politico, five justices – Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – voted for overturning, while three – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – dissented. According to the report, Roberts has not made his decision yet.
As written in February, the ruling would end a half-century of federal constitutional protections for abortion rights, leaving states free to limit or ban abortion. It is unclear whether the draft has been updated since then.
Politico reported that:
No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term.
The draft opinion offers an extraordinary window into the justices’ deliberations in one of the most consequential cases before the court in the last five decades. Some court-watchers predicted that the conservative majority would slice away at abortion rights without flatly overturning a 49-year-old precedent. The draft shows that the court is looking to reject Roe’s logic and legal protections.
A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week.
The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.
On Feb. 10, a draft of the majority opinion, labeled as a first draft, was distributed to the justices. According to the Alito draft, Mississippi would win its closely watched case on a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy if the draft is adopted.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.” Alito writes in the draft majority opinion.
The Politico report on the leak continued:
A George W. Bush appointee who joined the court in 2006, Alito argues that the 1973 abortion rights ruling was an ill-conceived and deeply flawed decision that invented a right mentioned nowhere in the Constitution and unwisely sought to wrench the contentious issue away from the political branches of government.
Alito’s draft ruling would overturn a decision by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the Mississippi law ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent by seeking to effectively ban abortions before viability.
Roe’s “survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant to the plainly incorrect,” Alito carries on, stating that the reasoning was “exceptionally weak,” resulting in “damaging consequences.”
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” Alito continued.
Alito quotes a wide range of critics of Roe in a positive way. A number of famous liberals, including the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, actually took issue with certain aspects of Roe’s reasoning or impact on the political system at specific times in their vocation.