According to Politico, a leaked initial draught majority opinion reveals the US Supreme Court has voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion statewide.
The unprecedented leak from the conservative-majority Supreme Court shocked the country, not least because the court prides itself on keeping its internal deliberations secret, and leaks are highly rare.
The document could not be independently confirmed by Reuters at this time. If true, it would be the first time a draught Supreme Court opinion has been made public.
The White House and the Supreme Court also declined to comment.
According to Politico, which uploaded a copy of the draught opinion online, conservative Justice Samuel Alito stated, “Roe was egregiously incorrect from the outset.”
According to Alito’s judgment, the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortions before a fetus was viable outside the womb – between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy – was incorrectly established since the United States Constitution provides no particular mention of abortion rights.
“Abortion raises a serious moral issue. According to the leaked memo, “the Constitution does not exclude people of each state from regulating or forbidding abortion.”
The news came a little over six months before the mid-term elections in the United States, which will determine whether Democrats maintain their razor-thin control. For the next two years of President Joe Biden’s presidency, Congress will be in session.
Abortion has been one of the most controversial subjects in American politics for nearly half a century.
According to the article, four other Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – sided with Alito in the justices’ conference.
One of the justices is given the majority opinion and creates a draught after an initial vote among the justices following an oral argument. The document is subsequently distributed among the justices.
The vote alignment can alter between the first vote and the release of the ruling. When the court publishes a decision, it becomes definitive.
Neal Katyal, a lawyer who routinely appears before the Supreme Court, wrote on Twitter that if the report is true, it will be “the first major leak from the Supreme Court ever.”
In December, the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, heard oral arguments on Mississippi’s bid to reinstate a ban on abortions beginning at 15 weeks of pregnancy, which had been blocked by lower courts.
Based on the oral argument in December, it looked that a majority of the court was inclined to uphold Mississippi’s abortion restriction, with five votes needed to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Roe v. Wade ruling acknowledged that a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy is protected by the right to personal privacy guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
It has long been a goal of Christian conservatives and many Republican officeholders to overthrow it.
In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion rights and banned restrictions creating an “undue barrier” to abortion access.
Mississippi petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn both verdicts, and Alito’s draught opinion generally echoes the concerns of the Republican state.
If Roe v. Wade is upheld, abortion will almost certainly continue legal in liberal states. Currently, there are laws protecting abortion rights in more than a dozen states. In recent years, a number of Republican-led states have imposed various abortion restrictions in violation of the Roe decision.
Republicans may aim to pass a nationwide ban on abortion, while Democrats may strive to safeguard abortion rights at the federal level.
The draught opinion, according to Democrats, downplays the importance of this year’s elections, in which they want to keep control of the House and Senate.
Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin said to MSNBC, “We need to turn out the vote as we’ve never turned out the vote before.” “The people must stand up and defend democratic institutions and human rights because the Supreme Court is obviously not acting in our favor.”
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican, claimed without evidence that the leak came from a liberal inside the court.
“The justices must not succumb to this attempt to tamper with the legal system. “Stay strong,” he wrote on Twitter.