An initial draft majority opinion circulating inside the court showed that the Supreme Court intends to retract its 1973 landmark decision legalizing abortion in the U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights, an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito appears to show. The draft opinion is described as a "full-throated, unflinching repudiation" of Roe v. Wade and the 1992 decision "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" that maintained abortion rights.
"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Alito wrote in the draft that circulated in the Supreme Court that was obtained by POLITICO. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."
In the document labeled "Opinion of the Court," Judge Alito wrote, "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of 'Roe' and 'Casey' now chiefly rely-the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
Judge Alito also cited "Roe's abuse of judicial authority" because, "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences."
Fox News reported that the draft leak was written in early February and that it remains unclear if it has been rewritten or revised since then. Official opinions are signed and released by the Supreme Court and until one is issued, Roe v. Wade still stands. However, it is unusual that a draft draft opinion in a Supreme Court case is disclosed.
Fox News' White House correspondent Kevin Corke reported that as per Jonathan Turley, who serves as a criminal defense attorney and is the Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, the leak would "constitute one of the greatest breaches of security in the history of the Court." Corke added that it is difficult not to see the leak as a "malicious act" and described it as "the greatest crisis Chief Justice [John] Roberts has faced on the Court."
The draft opinion seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade is 98 pages long and includes a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws. It also includes citations to previous court decisions and 118 footnotes. An individual close to the court's deliberations said that four of the Republican-appointed justices, namely Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all voted with Judge Alito in the conference held among the justices after oral arguments were heard in December.
As of this week, the line-up remains unchanged. Meanwhile, the three Democratic-appointed justices, namely Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are hard at work on one or more dissents. It remains unclear how Chief Justice Roberts will vote and whether he will join an opinion that has already been written.
A slew of leaders from both sides of the aisle have reacted to the Supreme Court's draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, Reuters reported. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley remarked, "The left continues its assault on the Supreme Court with an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate. The Justices mustn't give in to this attempt to corrupt the process. Stay strong."
The Missouri senator added, "I will say, if this is the Court's opinion, it's a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful."