With a shot at former President Donald Trump along the way, the two top Democrats in Congress on Monday vented their outrage at the prospect that the Supreme Court might overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
A draft opinion reported by Politico that was purportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito called for a new standard that would allow states to set their own rules for abortion.
Although justices draft opinions to share among each other – and no final ruling is expected until June on the Mississippi law that is before the court, the possibility that the court could limit abortion sent shockwaves through the political left.
Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California fired off outrage at the thought of the unborn being allowed to live in states that pass laws limiting abortion.
“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans,” the joint statement said.
“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.
“Several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation – all at the expense of tens of millions of women who could soon be stripped of their bodily autonomy and the constitutional rights they’ve relied on for half a century.
“The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump. Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people.”
If the report is accurate, the Roberts Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years.
The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 3, 2022
The document – labeled as the “Opinion of the Court,” states that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
It said that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and a subsequent 1992 decision called Planned Parenthood v. Casey were both wrong.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” the document states. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe is a dangerous obstruction of justice. And it could very well lead to intimidation and violence directed at Supreme Court justices. Which, I suspect, is the point of the criminal leak.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) May 3, 2022
In its report, Politico sought to give context to the decision by citing what it called “a person familiar with the court’s deliberations.”
As Politico wrote it, Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett agreed with Alito on the core of the majority opinion in December, and still stand by their positions.
These five make up the conservative majority of the court. Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett were appointed by Trump.
Alito was appointed in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush. Thomas was appointed in 1991 by then-President George H.W. Bush.
The three members of the court’s liberal wing — Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — are currently developing dissents to the draft decision, according to Politico.
The opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, who often but not always votes with the conservatives, is unclear.
Protests against began Monday night.
Right now: Barricades are up around the Supreme Court building, just minutes after reports from Politico were leaked indicating SCOTUS has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. pic.twitter.com/LxR9rbs6TF
— Cami Mondeaux (@cami_mondeaux) May 3, 2022
The Mississippi law in question would ban most abortions after a woman has been pregnant for 15 weeks. Multiple other states have passed similar laws, or laws that could restrict abortion if Roe is overturned.
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