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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Breaking down Politico’s Supreme Court document leak

Norma+McCorvey%2C+left%2C+who+was+Jane+Roe+in+the+1973+Roe+v.+Wade+case%2C+with+her+attorney%2C+Gloria+Allred%2C+outside+the+Supreme+Court+in+April+1989%2C+where+the+Court+heard+arguments+in+a+case+that+could+have+overturned+the+Roe+v.+Wade+decision.
Photo by Photo by Lorie Shaull

Norma McCorvey, left, who was Jane Roe in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, with her attorney, Gloria Allred, outside the Supreme Court in April 1989, where the Court heard arguments in a case that could have overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.

After a May 2 leak of a United States Supreme Court document regarding Roe v. Wade, Politico reported the court plans to strike down the ruling after obtaining an initial draft of a majority opinion. 
“POLITICO received a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document,” the article reads. “The disclosure of [Samuel] Alito’s draft majority opinion — a rare breach of Supreme Court secrecy and tradition around its deliberations — comes as all sides in the abortion debate are girding for the ruling.”
The draft of the 98-page document shows a February draft written by Justice Alito, which includes a 31-page appendix detailing historical abortion laws.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the statement reads. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
According to the Politico article, a person familiar with the court’s deliberations said the four Republican-appointed justices had all voted in favor of overturning, while the three Democratic justices are working on at least one dissent. It is unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote.
With a number of controversial abortion law cases around the nation, Alito said it is now time to put the power back in the hands of citizens and their elected officials.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft reads. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Hours after the report by Politico, protesters assembled outside the Supreme Court, raising concerns about the leaked document. Reactions of the protestors were mixed from those sitting quietly with candles or others shouting about the news, according to The New York Times. Additionally, there were a few counter protesters who gathered at the courts to celebrate.
“When a small group of people arrived to celebrate the apparent momentum toward limiting access to abortion, a much larger group of protesters moved to drive them away from the area outside the court,” the article reads.
Since the original publication of the article including a PDF of the document, President Joe Biden released a statement on Tuesday, May 3 addressing the nation, in which he mentioned how his administration has argued in defense of Roe v. Wade.
“We said that Roe is based on ‘a long line of precedent recognizing the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty against government interference with intensely personal decisions,’” Biden said in the statement. “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
Biden also addressed the growing number of laws restricting women’s reproductive rights including Texas Senate Bill 8.
“I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the case pending before the Supreme Court,” Biden said. “We will be ready when any ruling is issued.”
Finally, Biden said if the Supreme Court were to overrule Roe, it will be of utmost importance for voters to ensure they are electing officials at all levels of government who are pro-choice in the upcoming November elections.
“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” Biden said.
In response, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are planning to introduce a new bill this week to protect Roe v. Wade, according to an article by Politico.
“It’s a different world now, the tectonic plates of our politics, on women’s choice and on women’s rights in general are changing,” Schumer said in the article. “Every senator now, under the real glare of Roe v. Wade repealed by the courts, is going to have to show which side they’re on. And we will find the best way to go forward after that.”
Additionally, Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement on May 3 confirming the draft opinion is genuine. 
“The rights of all Americans are at risk,” Harris said in the statement. “If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decision you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have.”
Though it is not clear if or when the case will be overturned, the court is anticipated to make its decision in the next two months.

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