Supreme Court Draft Opinion Overrules Roe v. Wade and Overturns Abortion Rights Federally Protected Since 1973
The leak of the draft decision has been viewed by some as equally stunning as the draft decision itself. Many have speculated on the source of the leak. Suspicion has fallen onto the 36 Supreme Court clerks. Each of the nine Justices have four clerks.
The U.S. Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, the decades-old decision that guarantees federal constitutional protections of abortions rights, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito obtained by Politico and later confirmed to be authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The leaked 98-page document released by Politico late Tuesday, shows the majority conservative justices appear poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision. In the draft opinion, Alito rejects Roe v. Wade’s logic as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that maintained the right established by Roe v. Wade.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he wrote. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The court’s decision will not be finalized until it is published, which is expected to happen in the next two months, Politico reported.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanagh and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, reportedly voted with Alito. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all of whom were appointed by Democratic presidents, are working on one or more dissents, Politico reported. The votes currently in place are not concrete and Justices sometimes do change their votes ahead of a decision.
The leak of the draft decision has been viewed by some as equally stunning as the draft decision itself. In the court’s entire modern history, no draft decision has ever been publicly disclosed while a case was still pending.
Chief Justice John Roberts, whose ultimate decision on voting is or was not immediately clear, called the leak a betrayal.
"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,” Roberts said in a statement Tuesday. “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.
"To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed," he continued. "The work of the Court will not be affected in any way. We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce -- permanent employees and law clerks alike -- intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court."
Many have speculated on the source of the leak. Suspicion has fallen onto the 36 Supreme Court clerks. Each of the nine Justices have four clerks.
Neil Siegel, a professor of law at Duke Law School, clerked for the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, told Inside Edition the courts’ documents are held under tight security.
“We were not permitted to leave the building with them,” he said. “It’s crucial to the courts’ deliberations for there to be secrecy.”
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