UPDATED 5/3, 11:31 a.m. ET: Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court issued a statement confirming the authenticity of the draft opinion included in the original Politico piece. An investigation into the leak of the draft has been ordered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
“Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court,” Roberts said. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
See original story below.
On Tuesday, Politico published a 98-page initial draft majority opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects abortion rights.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft from Alito, which was circulated back in February, reportedly reads. “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.”
It’s important to note that Roe v. Wade has yet to be officially overturned and that some justices could potentially change their votes in the future. If Roe v. Wade is actually overturned, abortion rights would no longer be protected on the federal level and would instead be decided by individual state governments. A final decision could be announced in one to two months, Politico reports. The leak is the first of its kind as early Supreme Court opinion drafts have never circulated publicly in the modern era before being finalized and published, according to The New York Times and other outlets.
Although the leaked draft didn’t include the names of those that supported Alito’s opinion, the justices that are in favor of overturning Roe v Wade are reportedly the conservatives Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, according to Politico. On the flip side, Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are said to be working on dissents. It is not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote on the issue. The leaked opinion is in response to Dobbs v. Jackson, a case that is looking at if a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortions at 15 weeks is constitutional.
News of the leaked draft opinion has sparked strong reactions from people across social media, including U.S.senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
You can read more reactions to the news below.
Tuesday morning, President Joe Biden released an extended statement outlining what he said were “three points” about which he wanted to be clear. Among them was his assertion that, should the Court overturn Roe v. Wade, “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose.” Biden also said it would fall on voters.
“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” Biden said.