WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to abortion for nearly half a century, according to the Leaked opinion draft from February Posted online Monday night by Politico.
In a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., a majority of the Court’s members voted to overturn Roe, According to Politico. Judge Alito called the matter a mistake and said the contentious issue, which has fueled political debates in the United States for more than a generation, should be decided by politicians, not courts.
Judge Alito wrote in the document titled “Court Opinion,” noting a second ruling that reaffirmed Roe “We believe Roe and Casey should be overturned.” “It is time to turn to the constitution and return the question of abortion to elected representatives.”
The draft published by Politico is consistent with the published opinions of the Supreme Court in large and small respects, including structure, length, typography, and how legal citations are presented. An assertive and sometimes slanted tone very similar to the other major opinions of Judge Alito.
The release of the 98-page document is unprecedented in the court’s recent history: early drafts of opinions were never leaked before the final decision was announced, and never in such a consequential case. Early drafts of opinions often change by the time the court’s decision is announced.
Shortly after the article was published Monday night, Politico’s editor-in-chief, Matthew Kaminsky, and executive editor-in-chief, Dafna Linzer, emailed newsroom staff confirming its authenticity. In the memo, Mr. Kaminsky and Ms. Lenzer said the article had undergone a “thorough review process”, describing it as “clear news of significant public interest”.
Asked about the reaction to what appeared to be a leak, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said the court had no comment.
If the justices announce a decision along the lines of the leaked early draft, it will be a seismic change in US law and policy, just months before the midterm elections for Congress that will decide who holds power on Capitol Hill.
Abortion has long divided bipartisanship — and the state — though it has receded as a central issue in the presidential election even as it remains a hot-button issue for many. A court decision similar to the one in the first draft could spark new political battles in Congress and in states across the country over whether and how the measure should be restricted.
The Politico report said the judges who voted to support Justice Alito’s opinion were Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett. The news organization said Justices Stephen J. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are working to settle the opposition. It was not clear how Chief Justice John J. Roberts, Jr. planned the vote.
Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion in a landmark 1973 case, has been a cornerstone of American jurisprudence ever since. In court parlance, this was a precedent that cemented women’s basic rights to access legal abortion. Over the years, the court has accepted limitations on this right, but it has not backed away from the basic legal standard set out by Roe.
The current court – which includes six conservative justices and three liberals – has given indications over the past year that it may be willing to reconsider this position.
During their December Supreme Court arguments, conservative justices signaled their willingness to scale back, if not roll back, federal abortion protections and leave most regulations to individual states.
In more than two dozen conservative states, lawmakers have prepared bills that would effectively ban abortion if the court overturns Roe v. Wade. If the Court adopts Justice Alito’s draft opinion as its final position, it will clear the way for those bills to become law quickly.
The draft opinion presents familiar arguments against Rowe. It says that the constitution is silent on abortion and nothing in its text or structure supports the constitutional right to abortion. Project Raw is pursuing a fatal error that is not worth keeping as a precedent. The draft says the correct approach is to return the question to states.
Mississippi law challenged the case banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and Justice Alito could have adopted a compromise approach advocated by Chief Justice Roberts when the case was debated in December: to keep the law and leave questions about Roe’s fate for another day.
According to Judge Alito’s draft, the majority rejected this approach.
If a draft opinion or something like that is eventually released, it will result in divisions in the court that could test its legitimacy.
In the pleading, the three liberal court members said Roe’s veto so soon after the court’s membership change would harm the court’s authority. Indeed, Judge Sonia Sotomayor said doing so would pose an existential threat.
“Will this institution escape the stench this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are mere political acts?” She asked.
“If people really think it’s all political, how are we going to live?” She asked. “How will the court remain?”
The leaked opinion draft sent a jolt across Washington on Monday night. Findings from the draft opinion put the nine justices once again at the center of one of the most contentious issues in American life.
But the leak may also be the starting gun in a fierce new political debate even before the judges issue a final verdict.
Conservatives who oppose abortion rights quickly hailed Justice Alito’s conclusions as the correct ones for the country, praising him for the legal reasoning they have been arguing for decades in the court of public opinion.
“We don’t know if the rumors of Roe’s end are accurate yet, but we do know that ending Roe is the right decision, and returning the case to ‘We the People’ from the few judges with an agenda,” said Kristan Hawkins. Student Leader for Life in America. “You won’t find ‘abortion’ written in invisible ink in the Constitution, it wasn’t discovered until seven men saw it in 1973. Ending human life before birth was always a judicial error.”
Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas Tweet Monday night that “Roe was blatantly wrong from the start and I pray that the Court follow the Constitution and allow the states once again to protect the life unborn.”
But he also attacked the leakage of the draft opinion, saying that the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice “must get to the truth of this leak immediately using every necessary investigative tool.”
Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists have also criticized the leak. But many soon took the news as the main reason why voters should support the Democrats in the fall election.
“If this report is true, this Republican attack on abortion access, birth control and women’s health care has dramatically escalated the stakes of the 2022 election,” said Kristi Roberts, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “At this critical moment, we must protect and expand the Senate Democrats’ majority with the power to confirm or reject Supreme Court justices.”
Cecil Richards, who served as president of Planned Parenthood from 2006 to 2018, as Congress and state legislatures strengthened restrictions on reproductive health, said, “Ending legal abortion will not end abortion. It will simply mean that women are no longer safe in this country, and this is something that is under the feet of the Republican Party.”
The news on Twitter Monday night sparked a debate about which political party might benefit from early disclosure of a possible court decision. Many argued that Democrats would use the report to energize their primary voters.
Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington and a member of her party’s leadership in the Senate, promised to do just that.
“After sounding these alarms for years now, it is time to break the glass,” she wrote in a statement. “We need to fight with everything we have now. The right to an abortion is at stake, and I will not stop fighting to protect it.”
Contribute to reporting Karl HollsAnd Emily CochranAnd Elizabeth Dias from Washington and Kate ZrnickAnd Benjamin Mullen And Katie Robertson from New York.