Supreme Court opinion draft shows court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade on abortion; Chief Justice Roberts confirms authenticity

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Tuesday overturned a “radical” draft Supreme Court opinion rejecting a landmark ruling on Roe v. Wade abortion rights that has been in place for half a century and warned that other rights activists and birth control are at risk if the court proceeds. Across the nation, Americans faced what could follow.

The court confirmed the authenticity of the leaked plan, which was dated February, and Judge John Roberts said it had ordered an investigation into what he called a “gross breach of trust”. In a statement the court stressed that the draft is not the last word of the judges.

Opinions often change large and small in the drafting process, and a final decision is not expected until the end of the court’s term in late June or early July.

A Roe overrun would lead to abortion bans in about half of the states, spark new efforts in pro-democracy states to protect access to abortion and possibly reshape this year’s midterm elections.

The draft was published by the Politico news agency late Monday.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, Biden said he hoped the draft would not be finalized by judges, arguing that it reflected a “fundamental change in US jurisprudence” that threatened “other fundamental rights” such as access to control. births and marriage.

He added: “If this decision is valid, it is really a rather radical decision.” He said that “basic justice and the stability of the law require us” that the court not overturn Roe.

“If the court overturns Roe, it will be up to our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to vote,” Biden said. “And it will be up to the voters to elect officials in favor of the election this November. At the federal level, we will need more senators and a majority in the House election to pass legislation codifying Roe, for which I will work and vote. law “.

Although previous attempts failed, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Sumer said he intended to hold a vote.

“This is as urgent and real as it gets,” Sumer told the Senate on Tuesday. “Every American will see which side each senator stands on.”

Whatever the outcome, the Politico report late Monday represented an extremely rare breach of the court’s secret consultation process, and in a case of paramount importance.

“Roe made a terrible mistake from the beginning,” the draft said. Signed by Judge Samuel Alito, a member of the 6-3 Conservative majority in the court appointed by former President George W. Bush.

The document was described as the “First Draft” of the “Court of Opinion” in a case challenging the ban on Mississippi abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The draft opinion actually states that there is no constitutional right to abortion services. It would allow individual states to regulate more strictly or to ban the process permanently.

“We believe Roe and Casey should be overlooked,” he said, referring to the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey who confirmed Roe’s assertion of a constitutional right to abortion services, but allowed states to impose certain restrictions on the practice. “It is time to pay attention to the Constitution and return the issue of abortions to the elected representatives of the people.”

The draft opinion strongly suggests that when the judges met privately shortly after the arguments in the case on December 1, at least five – all conservatives except perhaps Judge John Roberts – voted in favor of Roe and Casey, and Alito took office. the drafting of the opinion of the majority of the court.

Votes and opinions in a case are not final until a decision is announced or, in a change brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, posted on the court’s website.

Politico only said it had received “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document”.

The report comes amid a legislative push to limit abortions in several Republican-led states – Oklahoma is the most recent – even before the court rules. Critics of the measures have said that low-income and low-income women will bear the brunt of the new restrictions.

The leak sparked the strong political repercussions that the Supreme Court’s final ruling was expected to have during the midterm election year. Already, politicians on both sides of the aisle were using the report to raise money and give energy to their supporters on both sides of the issue.

Democrats have argued that several conservative judges have misled senators about their sentiments.

And Maine Susan Collins, a Republican who supports abortion rights but was a key GOP vote in the affirmations of Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, said that if the draft reflected the court’s final opinion, “it would be completely inconsistent with what Judge Gorsuch and Judge Cavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office. “

An AP-NORC poll in December found that Democrats increasingly see the protection of abortion rights as a top priority for the government.

Other polls suggest relatively few Americans want to see Roe overthrown. In 2020, the AP VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave Roe v. Wade as it is. Only 29% said the court should overturn the decision. In general, the AP-NORC poll finds that the majority of the public argues that abortion is legal in most or all cases.

However, when asked about abortion policy in general, Americans have different views on the issue and many do not believe that abortion should be possible after the first trimester or that women should be able to have a legal abortion for any reason. .

Alito, in the draft, said the court could not predict how the public might react and should not try. “We can not allow our decisions to be influenced by any foreign influences, such as concerns about the public’s reaction to our work,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion, according to Politico.

Police in Washington have been preparing for the possibility of large demonstrations outside the Supreme Court and the US Capitol. People on both sides of the issue gathered outside the billboards waving and shouting a serene Monday night after the Politico report was published, and again on Tuesday.

Outside of Washington, New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul said those seeking abortions could head to her state. “For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. Abortions will always be safe and accessible in New York,” Hotsul said in a tweet.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitz said in a statement: “We will let the Supreme Court speak for itself and wait for the Court’s official opinion.” But local officials praised the draft.

“This puts decision-making back in the hands of the states, where it should always be,” said Mississippi State spokeswoman Becky Curry.

In Supreme Court arguments in December, all six Conservative judges signaled support for Mississippi law and five asked questions suggesting Roe and Casey’s excess was possible.

Only Roberts seemed ready to take the smallest step of enforcing the 15-week ban, although that would also be a significant weakening of abortion rights.

Until now, the court has allowed states to regulate but not prohibit abortion before the viability point, about 24 weeks.

Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Is overthrown. Wade, according to the think tank in favor of abortion, the Guttmacher Institute. Of these, 22 states already have total or near-total bans on books that are currently blocked by Roe, with the exception of Texas. The Texas law that banned it after six weeks was allowed to enter into force by the Supreme Court due to the unusual structure of its enforcement policy. Four more states are expected to pass the bans quickly if Roe is overthrown.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, have protected access to abortion under state law.

This year, pending a decision to overthrow or launch Roe, eight Conservative states have already moved to restrict abortion rights. Oklahoma, for example, has passed a number of bills in recent weeks, including one that goes into effect this summer, making abortion a felony. Like many abortion bills passed this year in the GOP-led states, there are no exceptions for rape or incest, just to save the mother’s life.

Eight Democratic states have protected or expanded access to the process, including California, which has passed legislation that makes the process less costly and is considering other bills to become an “abortion shelter” if Roe is overthrown.

Supreme Court justices usually spend May and June completing their writing on disputed cases and then issue the remaining opinions before going on summer vacation. According to the court calendar, the next day on which opinions are normally expected is May 16th.


Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington and Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court opinion draft shows court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade on abortion; Chief Justice Roberts confirms authenticity Source link Supreme Court opinion draft shows court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade on abortion; Chief Justice Roberts confirms authenticity

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