A report that the Supreme Court has drafted a majority opinion striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion has angered Democrats. Meanwhile, the celebration by Republicans, acknowledging the ruling is not final, has been a tempered one.
What You Need To Know
- A report that the Supreme Court has drafted a majority opinion striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion has angered Democrats
- Meanwhile, the celebration by Republicans, acknowledging the ruling is not final, has been a tempered one
- And some GOP lawmakers are voicing outrage about the leak
- Some Democrats are calling for the Senate to abolish the filibuster so it can pass a law protecting abortion rights
And some GOP lawmakers are voicing outrage about the leak.
POLITICO on Monday night published a 98-page draft opinion written in February by conservative Justice Samuel Alito on a challenge to a Mississippi law that would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
In it, Alito writes, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft says. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that upheld Roe v. Wade.
A source told Politico that Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents — have voted with Alito.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who supports abortion but voted to confirm Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, took aim at the two conservative Trump appointees, saying that it contradicts what they told her in meetings leading up to their confirmations.
"If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," she wrote in a statement.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a fellow Senate Republican in favor of protecting abortion rights, said Tuesday that her "confidence in the court has been rocked."
The report, however, stresses that the ruling is not final and that justices sometimes change their votes as draft opinions circulate. It’s also not clear if there have been subsequent drafts.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case within the next two months. If Alito’s ruling holds, it would allow states to decide their own abortion laws, with about half expected to immediately impose bans.
Democrats blasted the leaked opinion as an attack on women’s rights, with some calling for the Senate to abolish the filibuster so it can pass a law protecting abortion rights. The House passed the legislation in September.
The bill has no hope of clearing the 60-vote threshold to move forward in the 50-50 Senate.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats. “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.”
"End the filibuster," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote on Twitter. "Codify #RoeVWade with a national law protecting abortion rights. Expand the Supreme Court. Stop this horrifying injustice in its tracks."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington were among other Democrats who said they support eliminating the filibuster to pass abortion-rights legislation.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he believes “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.”
If it is struck down, “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” the president added. “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a joint statement sayin the ruling would “inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years — not just on women but on all Americans.”
“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” they wrote.
Some Democrats said low-income women would feel the impact of overturning Roe the most.
“I remember the days before Roe v. Wade, and I know that banning abortion does not make it go away; it makes it unsafe and dangerous,” tweeted Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore. “If that happens, wealthy women will continue to be able to find abortion care, as they did pre-Roe, but it will be devastating for low-income women and desperate young people who simply do not want to bear a child.”
Added Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the assistant House speaker: “This is devastating. Overturning #Roe would create a second class of citizens & make the dystopian horrors of forced pregnancy a reality, especially for low-income women. But that is exactly the goal (of Republicans): to take away our rights, agency, and humanity. We will not go quietly."
Republicans were not as vocal as Democrats on social media in the hours after Politico’s report was published. The ones who did post stopped short of full-throated praise because the decision is not final, but they also said they believe it is long overdue for Roe to be struck down.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning & I pray the Court follows the Constitution & allows the states to once again protect unborn life,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the ruling would be “nothing short of a massive victory for life and will save the lives of millions of innocent babie.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said, if the leaked draft opinion proves to be the final decision, he supports it.
“The sanctity of human life is a foundational American principle,” the former Republican presidential nominee said in a statement. “Laws regarding abortion would now be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Added Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo.: “I was a senior in high school when Roe v. Wade was decided. I didn’t understand abortion then, and I don’t understand it now. Killing an innocent human life is simply incomprehensible to me. I am optimistic that these reports are true, and that the Supreme Court will do the right thing, finally overturning this travesty of a decision.”
"If the reports are true about the upcoming decision, then the marches, the speeches, the standing, the dedication, the faith, and the prayers did avail much for a greater moral good," Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said in a statement.
Republicans said the leak itself was extremely concerning, with some blaming Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the "stunning breach was an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court."
"By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.
McConnell also criticzed Biden, Pelosi and Schumer for not defending judicial independence and the rule of law in their statements. He said their statements were "disgraceful" and that they were playing "into this toxic spectacle."
In an interview Tuesday with Columbus, Ohio, radio station WTOH, former President Donald Trump said: "This is a terrible thing when you have a leak coming out of the Supreme Court. ... I think it was demeaning and not good."
Cruz said the leak was “a blatant attempt to intimidate the Court through public pressure rather than reasoned argument.”
Romney said “the breach of the Court’s deliberative process … is an appalling affront against a critical institution and should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told Fox News, “This entire kerfuffle has been brought about as a result of an unscrupulous person trying to subvert 235 years of tradition, trying to subvert the way the Supreme Court operates.”