According to a leaked draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that was published by Politico on Monday night, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is set to overturn the highly controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion a constitutional right in America.
Justice Alito’s 67-page first draft was circulated to justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett on February 10, 2022 for the Dobbs v. Jackson case.
It is unknown who leaked the draft opinion, which is an outright rejection of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey wherein Justice Alito writes that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” adding, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”
“At the time of Roe, 30 states still prohibited abortion at all stages,” Justice Alito wrote in the draft. “In the years prior to that decision, about a third of the States had liberalized their laws, but Roe abruptly ended that political process. It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State.”
Justice Alito pointed out that there is no reference to abortion in the United States Constitution, saying, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. 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. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’”
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Alito continued, calling its reasoning “exceptionally weak,” resulting in “damaging consequences.” The draft said it time to “heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Politico shared that someone familiar with the court told them that justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett all voted with Alito in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade back in December during a conference the justices held after oral arguments were given.
Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement on Tuesday reassuring the public that the leaked copy of the draft opinion is not a decision by SCOTUS or a final position by any of its justices.
In his authentication of the draft, Justice Roberts revealed that he has directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation to determine the source of the leak. The justice called the leak a “betrayal of confidences” in an attempt to “undermine the integrity” of the Court’s operations. The attempt “will not succeed,” he said, indicating that the “work of the Court will not be affected in any way.”
President Joe Biden released a statement explaining that he wasn’t sure if the draft was even genuine or reflected the final decision of the Court.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” President Biden wrote.
“I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court,” President Biden said after Texas passed a state law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The law has saved an estimated 15,000 lives since last September.