US Supreme Court Orders Leak Investigation, Protesters Rally Over Potentially Seismic Abortion Ruling

US President Joe Biden said he will fight to preserve access to abortion services, while the Chief Justice ordered an investigation after an unprecedented leak suggested the high court could overturn the ruling. Roe v. Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion.

An initial leaked draft majority opinion suggests the court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, Politico reported Monday night.

“Roe was terribly wrong from the start,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion, which is dated Feb. 10, according to Politico, which published a copy.

Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in American politics and has been for almost half a century. The news broke just over six months before the midterm elections that will determine whether Democrats maintain their slim majorities in the US Congress for the next two years of President Joe Biden’s term.

Biden called it a potentially “radical” decision in US jurisprudence, which could have ramifications for other privacy rights related to contraception and gay rights.

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“It goes way beyond, in my opinion, it goes way beyond the concern of whether there is a right to choose,” he told reporters before leaving for a visit to Alabama.

In an earlier statement, the White House said it “will be ready when any ruling is made.”

CLOCK | Biden regrets possible annulment of Roe v. Wade:

Biden says overturning Roe v. Wade would be ‘radical’

US President Joe Biden says a whole range of rights would be called into question if the Supreme Court acts on a new draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion. 1:59

“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation codifying Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” the statement attributed to Biden said. .

To reporters, Biden said he was not ready now to pass judgment on whether the Senate’s filibuster over legislation intended to protect abortion rights, which requires a 60 percent threshold for votes rather than a simple majority, must be cancelled.

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft in a statement, calling the leak a “singular and egregious violation.” Roberts said he had ordered the Supreme Court bailiff to launch an investigation.

“To the extent that this betrayal of court confidences 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,” Roberts said.

Biden said he had been told the draft was authentic, but had been told it “doesn’t yet represent who will vote for it.”

“I hope there aren’t enough votes for it.”

CLOCK | Leaked Draft Opinion:

Democrats warn of consequences

Within hours of the news, anti-abortion activists chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go” and abortion rights advocates chanting “abortion is health care” were clashing. in front of the Supreme Court.

Protester Annie McDonnell, 19, a George Washington University student, said: “The first line of the draft is that this is a moral issue. If it’s a moral issue, it shouldn’t deprive us of our choice.”

“Judges get out of my vagina,” said a protest poster.

The unprecedented leak shocked Congress and the country.

“The Republican assault on Roe v. Wade is a manifestation of her disrespect for women for decades,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

“If … the Court decides to fire Roe, Democrats will not give up the fight against the serious threat he poses to the health, safety and well-being of women.”

Many Republican members of Congress seemed more committed to the leak.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “stunning infraction” in a statement.

“The chief justice must get to the bottom of the matter and the Justice Department must bring criminal charges if appropriate,” he said.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley argued that if a paralegal leaked it, he should be disbarred. Hawley added that, if true, the leaked opinion was “voluminously researched, strongly argued, and morally powerful.”

But Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski focused on women’s access and expressed dismay at the potential twist.

“My confidence on the court has taken a hit,” Murkowski told reporters.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would introduce a bill that would codify abortion rights into law, aiming for a vote next week. Such a vote is unlikely to reach 60 votes, but it would force some Republicans to have to defend their negative votes in the trial of the midterm election campaign.

An earlier vote failed in the Senate in March.

Several states have ‘activation’ laws

The draft decision appeared to be based on an oral argument in December over Mississippi’s attempt to revive its ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law blocked by lower courts.

After an initial vote among the justices following oral argument, one is assigned the majority opinion and a draft is written. It is then distributed among the judges.

Sometimes, between the initial vote and the bug posting, the voting lineup can change.

An official opinion in the Mississippi case is expected from the nine-member court, which has six Republican-appointed justices, before the end of June.

Protesters sit outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for the court’s majority to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade later this year. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Numerous Republican-led states have passed various abortion restrictions in recent years, as well as so-called trigger laws, which would go into effect and automatically ban abortions if the Supreme Court provides the legal basis.

If Roe is overturned, abortion is likely to remain legal in liberal states. More than a dozen states have laws that protect the right to abortion.

California has previously said it would seek to find more ways to accommodate out-of-state people seeking an abortion if the law is struck down.

“We can’t trust SCOTUS to protect abortion rights, so we’ll do it ourselves,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Twitter, referring to the Supreme Court.

It would go against the global trend

Based on Alito’s opinion, the court would find that the Roe v. Wade that allowed abortions to be performed before the fetus was viable outside the womb (between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy) was decided incorrectly because the US Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.

“Abortion presents a profound moral issue. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” Alito said, according to the leaked document.

The decision in Roe v. Wade recognized that the right to personal privacy under the US Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her own pregnancy.

The ruling helped mobilize Christian leaders, leading to the formation of politically active organizations such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, has estimated that roughly half of all US states would ban abortion if legally backed. In 2019, the group said abortions were at their lowest level since Roe v. Wade, due to declining birthrates, expanding insurance coverage for contraception, and increased use of drugs that can terminate pregnancies.

A 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of American adults believed it should be legal in all or most cases, while 39 percent thought it should be illegal in most or most cases. in all cases.

If the supreme court offers an opinion consistent with the Politico report, the US would buck the global trend. The Council on Foreign Relations in a report in late 2019 tracked nearly 30 cases of countries this century that have expanded access to abortion services, with only the US and a handful of others tightening restrictions.

Derenda Hancock, co-organizer of Pinkhouse Defenders, is shown Tuesday. The group are volunteers who protect and escort patients entering the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, where the Supreme Court case originated. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press)

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