Formal decision would return abortion rights decisions back to states
(The Center Square) – The U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as a constitutional right, Politico reported Monday based on what it said was a draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.
At least five justices are ruling to overturn Roe and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Politico reported, based on the reportedly leaked draft document. If the draft document is real, it would be the first time a Supreme Court decision was leaked in modern U.S. history before it became official with a formal release.
Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett signed on to the opinion, according to Politico. All were nominated by Republican presidents.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” the justices wrote in a draft deciding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a lawsuit initiated in Mississippi, according to Politico. “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.”
The decision was “egregiously wrong from the start” and must be overturned in its entirety, the justices wrote in the leaked draft.
Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly is not signing on to the opinion.
A blog that’s sole focus is covering the Supreme Court daily said the draft opinion is likely “authentic.”
It is “almost certainly authentic,” SCOTUSblog wrote, adding that the draft “does not reflect the comments or reactions of other Justices.”
But Politico added that the ruling is not yet final.
“Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid,” Politico wrote. “Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.”
If the draft becomes the formal opinion of the court, abortion would be decided by states and not embedded as constitutional federal law, as was the case before the Roe v. Wade decision.
Many conservative states in recent years have placed tighter restrictions on abortion through so-called heartbeat bills, banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the womb, often around six weeks of pregnancy.
After the report, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a progressive from Vermont, called for Congress to pass a law preserving women’s rights to an abortion, including ending the Senate filibuster if necessary.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”