Roe v Wade: Response to leaked Supreme Court ruling on abortion law

The United States is in political turmoil over an “unprecedented” leak from the country’s Supreme Court with huge consequences.

The United States is in political turmoil over a leaked Supreme Court document indicating that abortion rights will be reversed in much of the country.

Overnight, the chief justice of the court, John Roberts, confirmed that a draft opinion published yesterday by the news website Politico was “authentic”.

He described the leak as a “betrayal of the court’s trust” and “a blatant breach of trust”, and said the matter would be investigated.

The draft, written by conservative judge Samuel Alito, would override the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wadewho has supported abortion rights in the US for the past 50 years.

Under the precedent of roeand a subsequent decision in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood vs. CaseyUS governments can only ban abortion from the point of “viability,” that is, when a fetus can realistically survive outside the womb. That threshold is reached at about 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy.

By overturning those rulings, state governments could ban abortion much sooner. Some states already have laws on their books – currently unenforceable – banning as early as 15 weeks, or even as early as six weeks, when many women do not know they are pregnant.

roe was hugely wrong from the start,” Justice Alito writes in the draft opinion.

“The reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences. Instead of achieving a national settlement of the abortion issue, roe and Casey have fueled debate and deepened divisions.

“It is time to respect the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people.

“We Love That” roe and Casey must be overcome.”

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Fury in pro-choice America

The news has sparked two separate reactions: one, from the left, against the idea of ​​overthrow roeand another from the right against the leakage of the draft decision.

We’ll start with the first.

President Joe Biden called Judge Alito’s argument “way too far” and “radical.”

roe has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years, and the fundamental fairness and stability of our law require that it not be destroyed,” he said.

“It will fall to our country’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect women’s right to choose. It is up to voters to elect pro-choice officials in November. At the federal level, we need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to pass legislation that codifies roewhich I will work on to get it through and sign it into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, another leading Democrat, has promised a Senate vote on that idea of ​​codification Roe vs Wade in the law, which would set a federal standard that prevents states from banning abortion before it is viable that does not depend on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.

“This is as urgent and real as it gets. We will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose, and every American will see which side every senator is on,” Schumer said.

But that attempt is doomed to failure.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. It is possible that a majority of senators would support codification roebut due to the chamber’s filibuster rule, it would actually take at least 60 votes for the push to succeed.

There won’t be that many votes.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is among those already calling for the removal of the filibuster rule, which would allow legislation to be passed with 50 votes. She expressed her frustration at night.

“I’m angry. Angry, upset and determined,” Warren told reporters.

“Republicans have been working towards this day for decades. They are planning and carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so that they could have a majority on the bench that would accomplish something that a majority of Americans don’t want.

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle released a statement saying the court’s impending ruling would “relegate the most intensely personal decision anyone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues.”

“Those without enough money or access to transportation or the ability to take time off from school or work would face the same conditions most women faced before. roe“desperate for illegal abortions that inevitably pose serious risks to their health, their future ability to have children and sometimes their lives,” they said.

The Obamas urged Americans to “join the activists who have been sounding the alarm on this issue for years” and protest.

‘No one is safe’

Legal experts in favor of allowing abortion have expressed concern that roe can lead to many women being persecuted.

“Toppling Roe will be a massive criminalization event,” Jessica Arons, senior reproductive rights policy advisor at the American Civil Liberties Union, told ABC News.

“If abortion is outlawed, that means any pregnancy loss is subject to investigation and criminal prosecution, and people will be put in jail.”

She added that “no one is safe”.

Meanwhile, a handful of moderate Republicans have joined the resistance, most notably moderate Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Both women suggested that two of the conservative judges they voted for while Donald Trump was president — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — had misled them during the confirmation process.

“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is correct, it would be completely contrary to what Judge Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh have said during their hearings and at our meetings in my office,” Ms Collins said.

“My confidence in the court has been shaken,” Ms Murkowski said.

“(This) was not the direction I thought the court would take, based on statements made about” roe regulated and set a precedent.”

During his public hearings, Judge Kavanaugh told the Senate that he believed: Roe vs Wade was “settled as a precedent”.

Republican senators’ reactions to the news did not elicit sympathy from prominent left-wing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Murkowski voted for Amy Comey Barrett when Trump himself declared that he was appointing judges to overthrow Roe. She and Collins betrayed the nation’s reproductive rights when they were exceptionally able to stop the slide,” she said.

“They’re not allowed to play the victim now.”

‘Gone too damn far’: Hollywood is buzzing

Of course, celebrities were quick to weigh in too.

“Those bastards really did it,” he admitted Star Trek actor George Takei.

“We must unite and strike back. Take to the streets. Overwhelm them at the ballot box. They have gone too far.”

Rosanna Arquette, once measured, told the court to “get your dirty NAZI boots off our wombs”. Cher, in a similar vote, told Americans “who are not brain dead” they “deserve to live in western Russia” if they fail to vote in the midterm elections.

Susan Sarandon called on Democrats to abolish the filibuster and introduce a federal right to abortion, telling “voice embarrassing keyboard activists” to “go out and use your energies to actually hold them accountable.”

“Forced birth and illegal abortions across state lines is retarded and cruel. The Supreme Court has become the department,” said Mark Ruffalo.

“Thanks to Alito and his kind of right-wing radicals, who are poisonous to the impartiality of the court. Based on his arguments, the Supreme Court is now strictly political.”

“So let me understand this: I can’t tell you to wear a mask during the pandemic, but you can make me wear a pregnancy that I don’t want or that isn’t safe to carry to term? Oh. Cool cool,” said author Jodi Picoult.

And actor Josh Gad echoed this comment from songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez: “So they’re abolishing abortion, but it doesn’t matter if our kids are killed with guns in school. They abolish abortion, but cut health care, childcare and education for the most vulnerable. This is not pro life. This is anti-woman.”

‘Unprecedented’: Calls to ‘arrest’ the leaker

The political right, of course, was pleased with the content of the court’s draft ruling. But conservatives weren’t happy with the leak.

Unlike in politics, leaks to the Supreme Court media are extremely rare. Such a one could even be called ‘unprecedented’, according to Professor Edward Fallone, a law professor.

“This lawless action must be investigated and punished to the fullest extent possible. To the fullest extent possible,” said Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking Republican in Congress, Senate minority leader.

“If a crime has been committed, the Justice Department must fully prosecute it.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 (especially if Mr. Trump doesn’t run), compared the leak to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

‘Do you want to talk about rebellion? That’s a judicial revolt,” said Mr. DeSantis.

Congressman Anthony Sabatini, apparently a man of few words, simply said, “Arrest the leaker.”

Political confrontation looms

Above this whole debate looms the midterm elections, which will be held in November. As things stand, it looks like the Republican Party will almost certainly recapture both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which are currently under Democrat control.

Will the re-emergence of abortion rights as a prominent issue alter political calculus, energize Democratic voters? I think we will find out.

Polls consistently show that about two-thirds of Americans support the precedent set by roe and believe that abortion should be legal, but not without restrictions. Support for legal abortion plummets when asked specifically if it happens in the second and third trimesters.

Overwhelming majorities support abortion in cases of rape, incest or where the woman’s life is at risk. Some — not all — anti-abortion laws proposed by conservative states would maintain those exceptions.

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