WASHINGTON – Just hours after reports surfaced that a majority of judges had voted to oust Roe v. Wade and the abortion protections it introduces, dozens of protesters began gathering outside the Supreme Court and poured into the area far out in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
The mood outside the court was a mixture of anger and sadness, with some protesters sitting silently in front of a long line of candles, while others formed a roaming circle, shouting defiant applause for the news.
The scene early on Tuesday reflected the hastily assembled night watch held after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in 2020, which even then seemed to cast doubt on the future of abortion rights.
But many who arrived at the court said the leaked document proved that a showdown on abortion rights was imminent.
Jack Lilley, a junior at American University, said he had arrived immediately after hearing the news, despite being in the middle of the final week.
“It is 12.30 in the morning and unfortunately we have to be at the Supreme Court because our government does not support and uplift women and we have to spend the time we should spend studying to be here,” he said.
The audience that gathered on Tuesday was markedly younger and more vocal than the one that came to honor Justice Ginsburg.
A group of protesters with a megaphone shouted at Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who wrote the leaked draft opinion.
When a small group of people arrived to celebrate the apparent momentum against restricting access to abortion, a much larger group of protesters moved to drive them away from the area outside the court.
Many who still arrived at the court early Tuesday expressed dismay that the court was moving away from what once seemed to be firm law.
“I’m disappointed with the Supreme Court, and I’m disappointed that we found out through a leak,” said Celina Bamper, a law student in Washington. “It just makes the trust in the court completely gone, finding out about this significant decision through a leak – it’s appalling.”