A draft Supreme Court majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has reportedly leaked, seemingly the first draft of the Court’s coming decision in a 15-week abortion case out of Mississippi.
The draft was obtained by Politico. The outlet reports that the opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who was joined by Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch when they voted in conference after oral arguments.
A spokesperson for the Court told TPM “the Court has no comment” on the story and reported draft.
The draft is seemingly an early look into the majority’s thinking as it has long been expected to topple abortion rights this summer. Its language could change, perhaps considerably.
But many of the conservative justices made their hostility to Roe clear in the Court’s December oral arguments in the case, previewing the possibility that the precedent could fall. The degree of hostility surprised some court watchers who expected the conservative majority to chip away at the 1973 precedent incrementally.
Politico said in its report that it was not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts would vote. CNN soon reported, citing “sources,” that Roberts was willing to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban, but would not go along with the majority in overturning Roe entirely.
If some version of this draft becomes the majority opinion, it will be the end of a 50-year precedent, and abortion access will be quickly cut off in a third of the country. Still other states will likely advance draconian bans in lieu of the constitutional guardrails. This will have knock-on effects most acutely affecting women who lack resources and time to travel for the procedure, but sweeping up many, including those suffering from pregnancy loss and miscarriages.
The tone of Alito’s draft opinion is scathing, with its author calling Roe an “abuse of judicial authority” based on “egregiously wrong” reasoning with “damaging consequences.” He even charges the decision with having “enflamed debate and deepened division” on abortion.
Experts and court-watchers told TPM that while toppling Roe has long been the goal of the anti-abortion movement, its activists — and the lawmakers and judges it motivates — likely won’t stop there: outlawing abortion nationwide has always been the long game.
Read the document here: