Politicians, Celebrities, activists, government officials, and people across the country are speaking out after a Supreme Court draft opinion could potentially strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that upheld a woman's right to abortion, leaked online.
The document was published on Monday, May 2, 2022, by Politico and had been circulated among the Court in February 2022. The draft opinion had the support of at least five of the nine members on The Supreme Court.
The 98-page draft opinion was written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who is one of the court’s most conservative members. Politico noted that the other four Supreme Court justices who joined the 5-4 majority with Alito were Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas. All five justices were appointed to the nation’s highest bench by Republican presidents.
In the draft opinion, Alito wrote, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division”.
The leaked documents show that the Supreme Court may rule in favor of the state of Mississippi in the pending Supreme Court Case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, about the legality of the state's ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Supreme Court’s final decision on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case, could come in late June or in early July. Media outlets have noted that despite the leak, it is possible that the justices’ final votes and decision could potentially change.
A day after the leak, The Supreme Court released a statement confirming that while the leaked document is “authentic”, it, “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
In a separate statement, Chief Justice Roberts said: “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way. We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here. I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.
In addition to posting an official statement on social media, President Joe Biden spoke to reporters and said that the Supreme Court leak concerns him a “great deal” while adding that a “whole range of rights” would be affected should the leaked draft opinion becomes law.
“The idea that concerns me a great deal that we're going to after 50 years decide a woman does not have a right to choose within the limits of a Supreme Court decision ... But even more, equally as profound, is the rationale used, and it would mean that every other decision made in the notion of privacy is thrown into question," Biden told reporters.
In addition to statements made by The Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts, and President Biden, see how politicians (former and current), celebrities, and activists are reacting to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case below:
-Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton: "Not surprising. But still outrageous. This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, & lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace."
-Actor George Takei: “Those motherf*****s really did it. First they came for Black voters, then they targeted LGBTQ+ families. Now, women of America, they’re overruling Roe v. Wade.
We have to unite and strike back. Take to the streets. Overwhelm them at the ballot box. They have gone too damn far.”
-Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota: “If this report is true and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.”
-Rachel Maddow, News Anchor on MSNBC: “[The draft opinion, if issued], would fundamentally change us as a country. It would fundamentally change the relationship between women and the government. It would fundamentally change the future for... all our daughters and granddaughters, and women that come after us.”
-Jeffrey Toobin, Legal Analyst on CNN: “I can't emphasize enough, as someone who has covered this Court for 30 years, who's written two books on the Court, there has never been a leak anything like this,”
-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates: “I was shocked to wake up to the news this morning. A reversal of Roe v. Wade would set us back 50 years and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable women in society.
I support a woman's right to make their own decisions about their health care.”
-Senator Elizabeth Warren: “If an extremist Supreme Court overturns Roe, wealthy women will still get safe abortions — by traveling to another state or country. But women of color, those with lower-incomes, and victims of abuse will suffer the most.
Congress must eliminate the filibuster and protect Roe.”
-House Rep Ilhan Omar: “Overturning Roe would put the lives of women across the country at risk. It would fly in the face of decades of precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion. And they will not stop here. Expand the court.”
· Gerstein, Josh, and Alexander Ward. "Exclusive: Supreme Court Has Voted to Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows." POLITICO, 2 May 2022, www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473.
· Supreme Court. "Press Releases - Pr_05-03-22 - Supreme Court of the United States." Supreme Court of the United States, 3 May 2022, www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_05-03-22.
· Winsor, Morgan. "Nation Reacts to Leaked Draft Supreme Court Decision That Could Overturn Roe V. Wade." ABC News, 3 May 2022, abcnews.go.com/Politics/nation-reacts-leaked-draft-supreme-court-decision-overturn/story?id=84463079.
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