WASHINGTON DC (WCCO / CBS News) – The Supreme Court appears ready to overturn its landmark decisions establishing the right to abortion, according to a draft opinion obtained and published by Politico, a decision which – if finally implemented – would set a 50-year precedent and pave the way for states to severely curtail abortion rights in the United States.
The leak of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court is breathtaking and unprecedented in modern times and has already sent shock waves through Washington and the nation.
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, addressed the news of the bombing Monday night with a four-word tweet: “Not on my guard.”
Not on my watch. https://t.co/FvUJgc84sZ
– Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 3, 2022
In a later tweet, Walz said in part, “The right to abortion will be respected in Minnesota as long as I’m in office.”
Minnesota Senior Senator Amy Klobuchar, also a Democrat, tweeted that the court potentially endangers “a fundamental right.”
It is a fundamental right of a woman to make her own health decisions. We must protect the right to choose and codify Roe v Wade into law.
– Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) May 3, 2022
Minnesota Democratic Senator Tina Smith made the statement late Monday night:
When I worked at Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, I saw on my own how women had the capacity to make the right decisions for themselves. How dare Judge Alito and other Supreme Court justices know they know better. There is nothing more American than the right to freedom, autonomy and self-determination. Still, the Supreme Court is preparing to remove it for half the country. President Trump stole two Supreme Court seats. And Republicans will have to take responsibility for their role in this attack on women’s freedom and equality. Let’s get organized and get started.
Late Monday, protesters gathered outside the court after Politico released the report suggesting the Conservative majority is preparing to fully overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing the right to abortion.
Both Democrats and Republicans issued statements that responded to the reported draft and the implications it would have if such a decision were ultimately handed down. Planned Parenthood tweeted“Let’s be clear: this is a draft statement. It’s outrageous, it’s unprecedented, but it’s not final. Abortion is your right – and it’s STILL LEGAL.”
The draft published by Politico indicates that it was written by Judge Samuel Alito and circulated on 10 February. It did not say which other judges agreed with the statement, but Politico noted that a person familiar with the court’s deliberations said four other Conservative judges, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted with Alito under closed doors after oral arguments and have not changed their positions. It is unclear whether Chief Justice John Roberts will join the Conservative majority, according to Politico.
The judges could change their votes in the days or weeks leading up to the release of the decision. The Supreme Court’s statement in the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – involving oneban on abortions after 15 weeks – is expected to be handed down before the courts end their term of office by the end of June or the beginning of July.
Politico said it received a copy of the draft opinion “from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case, along with other details that support the authenticity of the document.”
In a statement Monday night, Patricia McCabe, the Supreme Court’s public information officer, said the court has no comment on the report.
A full-scale investigation is expected by the leak of the draft opinion involving the FBI to determine who the source was.
Thatin the blockbuster dispute involving the Mississippi law in December, and at the end of the session, a majority of the court to leave the state measure. However, it was less clear whether five judges would vote to overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case, which confirmed Roe’s core team and said states can not ban abortion before fetal viability, generally considered to be between 22 and 24 weeks inside a pregnancy.
READ MORE: South Dakota’s Christ Noem reveals proposal to ban almost all abortions, imitates Texas law
But according to the draft statement leaked to and published by Politico, Alito wrote that Roe was “extremely wrong from the start” and its reasoning “unusually weak.”
“It is time to take into account the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people,” Alito wrote according to Politico.
Alito, appointed to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush, concluded: “Abortion is a profound moral issue. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of every state from regulating or banning abortion. Roe and Case arrogated this authority. We are now ignoring these decisions and giving that authority back to the people and their elected representatives. “
The document states that the decision is a “1st draft”, and Alito’s statement extends over 67 pages and is accompanied by a 31-page appendix containing various statutes criminalizing abortion.
If the Supreme Court overrides Roe and Casey, as the reported draft opinion suggests, it will mark a long-awaited victory for anti-abortion advocates, who for decades have called on the district court to reconsider its abortion procedures.
The appointment of three conservative judges by former President Donald Trump – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett – extended the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, and Mississippi officials then urged the Supreme Court to use their legal battle as the means to overthrow Roe and Casey.
The Guttmacher Institute, an organization that supports abortion rights, estimated that 26 states are either safe or likely to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overthrows or dismantles Roe. Some already have laws in place that would do so if Roe was knocked down, and governors of Oklahoma and Florida each signed new abortion restrictions into law last month.
ONEindicated that a majority of Americans supported leaving Roe in place. According to the November survey, if Roe is overthrown and the case left to the states, a majority would want abortion in their own state to be legal in all or most cases: more than six in 10 say so. Only 14% want their state to make it illegal in all cases.
The draft opinion, as reported by Politico, led to outrage from congressional Democrats.
“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is ready to impose the greatest restriction on rights in the last fifty years – not just on women, but on all Americans,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a blistering statement. “The Republican-appointed judges’ reported polls that overthrow Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.”
Pelosi and Schumer accused conservative judges of “lying to the U.S. Senate” and “tearing up the U.S. Constitution.” Such a ruling, they said, would deprive millions of women of their “bodily autonomy and the constitutional rights they have relied on for half a century.”
Several Republicans, meanwhile, issued statements Monday night praising the draft statement but criticizing the leak as detrimental to the Supreme Court as an institution.
“The next time you hear the far left preach about how they are fighting to preserve the institutions and norms of our republic, remember how they leaked a statement from the Supreme Court in an attempt to intimidate the judges about abortion,” Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida tweeted.
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Late. Tom Cotton from Arkansas tweeted that the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice should use “all necessary investigative tools” to get to the bottom of the leak, but added that he asks “the court follows the constitution and allows the state again to protect unborn life.”