OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has voted to strike down the controversial Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft of the majority opinion reportedly obtained by Politico.
Conservatives called for an investigation immediately after the leak, accusing left-wing operatives of possibly trying to intimidate justices and the court.
Politico reportedly obtained a draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The case originated in Mississippi and challenged the landmark 1973 decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion. The Supreme Court was expected to announce its ruling in the coming months, but the leak has changed everything.
It appeared that Alito’s vote in favor of overturning Roe v Wade was backed by Justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and possibly Chief Justice John Roberts.
“If this story is true, the Court should issue its opinion right away,” tweeted former federal prosecutor and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy. “Otherwise the disgraceful leak wins. I would say that if my side lost. If we lose the integrity of the Court’s process, we lose the Court. That should be intolerable to all of us who live the country.”
If this story is true, the Court should issue its opinion right away. Otherwise the disgraceful leak wins. I would say that if my side lost. If we lose the integrity of the Court’s process, we lose the Court. That should be intolerable to all of us who live the country.
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) May 3, 2022
Rumors also spread on social media that a clerk for one of the court’s three liberal justices may have been behind the leak.
“This leak has to come from a clerk or Justice themselves,” a clerk told Washington-based podcaster Benny Johnson. “It is intended to blow up the court. Criminal investigation needs to happen now.”
Just spoke with former Supreme Court clerk. They are horrified.
This is a quote:
"This leak has to come from a clerk or Justice themselves. It is intended to blow up the court. Criminal investigation needs to happen now."
They suggest Sotomayor has most radical leftist staff.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 3, 2022
“Roe should be overruled,” tweeted First Amendment attorney Casey Mattox. “But the biggest news here would be an egregious ethical violation by someone inside the Court if there is any validity to this. And perhaps by Politico.”
“The alleged leak of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is nothing short of breathtaking,” wrote legal analyst and George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turkey. “It would constitute one of the greatest breaches of security in the history of the Court.”
The draft majority opinion by Alito destroys Roe v Wade and argues that it should be a state issue.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
“We, therefore, hold the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito writes in the document, labeled the ‘Opinion of the Court.’
Here’s more from Politico’s report on the leak:
Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months,
The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.
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.