Following the unprecedented scandal over the leak of a draft revealing that the Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the repercussions from both parties were not long in coming. While Democrats are lining up to retain the legality of abortion, Republicans charge that the leaks are a conspiracy to intimidate the justices into changing their minds.
The leak comes just over six months before the midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats maintain their majorities in the U.S. Congress for the next two years of President Joe Biden’s term.
The draft, dated Feb. 10 and written by Judge Samuel Alito, reached Politico, which published it on Monday, May 2, unleashing a wave of statements from both sides of the political spectrum.
On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, expressed outrage over the contents of the brief and wrote this in a joint statement.
“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 all Americans,” the Democrats wrote.
“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.”
While California Governor Gavin Newsom assured that his state would propose an amendment to the state constitution to “enshrine the right to choose.”
Newsom said, “We can’t trust SCOTUS to protect the right to abortion, so we’ll do it ourselves,” Reuters reported.
For Republicans, on the other hand, this is an operation to intimidate the justices into changing their minds.
It should be noted that never in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court has the preliminary documentation of a ruling been leaked. Some analysts stress that the fact that the Democratic-leaning media published this could be aimed at pressuring a moderate and undecided judge regarding their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Sen. Marco Rubio was adamant, blaming the Democrats for the serious leak for pressure.
“The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic’s institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion,” the senator wrote on Twitter.
Other Republicans demanded that the Justice Department launch an investigation to find out who released Alito’s opinion.
“The Supreme Court & the DOJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary.”
“In the meantime, Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning & I pray the Court follows the Constitution & allows the states to once again protect unborn life,” Sen. Tom Cotton posted on Twitter.
While RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway also aligned himself with the idea of a conspiracy to pressure the justices.
“Leaking a draft opinion is a scumbag move designed to create public pressure against the court before the decision is finalized,” Hemingway tweeted, as noted by Fox News.
After former President Trump nominated three conservative justices, the Supreme Court has, for the first time in 50 years, a comfortable 6—3 conservative majority. In June, it will give the Supreme Court a chance to overturn the legality of abortion when it rules in a Mississippi state case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Given that the Dobbs case was argued on Dec. 1, the extension of time to Feb. 10, indicated as the draft date, would fit into a regular opinion-writing timeline that justices typically develop several months before rulings.
Although the text is the first draft with arguments by Justice Alito, and nothing is definite, the same opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett would give the Court the five votes needed for a majority.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortions would be left for the states to decide. So, in anticipation of the court’s ruling, Democratic states passed laws protecting abortion if Roe is overturned, while many Republican states have passed laws restricting abortion.