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    Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

    “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court.

    EXCLUSIVE

    Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

    “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court.

    Abortion rights supporters and anti-abortion demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 1, 2021. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    By JOSH GERSTEIN and ALEXANDER WARD

    05/02/2022 08:32 PM EDT

    Updated: 05/03/2022 02:14 PM EDT

    The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

    The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision — — that largely maintained the right. “ was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

    “We hold that and must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

    Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.

    The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.

    No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term.

    The draft opinion offers an extraordinary window into the justices’ deliberations in one of the most consequential cases before the court in the last five decades. Some court-watchers predicted that the conservative majority would slice away at abortion rights without flatly overturning a 49-year-old precedent. The draft shows that the court is looking to reject ’s logic and legal protections.

    “ was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, and have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

    A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week.

    The three Democratic-appointed justices — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.

    The document, labeled as a first draft of the majority opinion, includes a notation that it was circulated among the justices on Feb. 10. If the Alito draft is adopted, it would rule in favor of Mississippi in the closely watched case over that state’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

    On Tuesday, after this article was published, Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion and said he was ordering an investigation into the disclosure.

    “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court 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 pledged in a written statement. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”

    Roberts also stressed that the draft opinion “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.” The court spokesperson had declined comment pre-publication.

    SUPREME COURT

    10 key passages from Alito’s draft opinion, which would overturn Roe v. Wade

    BY JOSH GERSTEIN

    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 draft opinion runs 98 pages, including a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws. The document is replete with citations to previous court decisions, books and other authorities, and includes 118 footnotes. The appearances and timing of this draft are consistent with court practice.

    The disclosure of 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. Speculation about the looming decision has been intense since the December oral arguments indicated a majority was inclined to support the Mississippi law.

    Source : www.politico.com

    Draft Supreme Court Opinion Would Overturn Abortion Decision

    A majority of the court privately voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to the document, obtained by Politico. The release of the document is unprecedented in the court’s modern history.

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    Source : www.nytimes.com

    Roe v Wade: US Supreme Court may overturn abortion rights, leak suggests

    Millions could lose the legal right to abortion this summer, a leaked Supreme Court document shows.

    Roe v Wade: US Supreme Court may overturn abortion rights, leak suggests

    Published 2 days ago Media caption,

    Watch: Pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators gather in Washington DC

    Millions of women across the US could soon lose their legal right to abortion, according to a leaked Supreme Court document.

    The document, published by Politico, suggests the country's top court is poised to overturn the 1973 decision that legalised abortion nationwide.

    If the court strikes down the Roe v Wade ruling, individual states would be allowed to ban abortion if they wish.

    It is expected abortion could then be banned in almost half of US states.

    The Supreme Court's justices are expected to issue a ruling in late June or early July.

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    Roe v Wade is in the court's sights because Mississippi is asking for it to be overturned. The justices heard that case in December.

    Thirteen states have already passed so-called trigger laws that will automatically ban abortion if Roe is overruled this summer. A number of others would be likely to pass laws quickly.

    Some 36 million women could then lose abortion access, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organisation which provides abortions.

    "If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "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," he said.

    Anti-abortion groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List have welcomed the news. "If Roe is indeed overturned, our job will be to build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children," it said.

    Follow live reaction and updates

    Why US abortion rights could be about to change

    What is the Roe v Wade ruling?

    Who could be most affected if it's overturned?

    The leaked document - labelled "1st Draft" - appears to reflect the majority opinion of the court, and Politico reports that it was written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated within the court on 10 February.

    But it is unclear if it represents a final opinion, as justices have previously changed their views during the drafting process. The Supreme Court and the White House have not yet commented.

    Its publication on Monday night sparked an immediate outcry from Democrats, as well as protests by both pro-choice and anti-abortion campaigners outside the court in Washington DC.

    Leading Democratic politicians Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said jointly that if the report was accurate, the Supreme Court was "poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years".

    An unprecedented leak

    Assume for a moment that this draft opinion becomes the law of the land. In an instant - because of statutes already on the books and "trigger" laws designed for such an occasion - abortion would be illegal in 22 states.

    The legality of the procedure would become a vicious political battleground in the midst of an election year.

    This is the significance of what may be unfolding in the Supreme Court.

    Draft opinions, however, are just that - drafts. And there have been accounts of justices shifting their views as the opinion-drafting process unfolds within the cloistered court chambers. This unprecedented leak short-circuits all that.

    For most of US history, the Supreme Court has operated like Mount Olympus, handing down opinions from on high. That opacity has been shattered perhaps for good, as the leaking spreads.

    What it will mean for the legitimacy of the judicial process in the US remains to be seen, but within the institution itself it seems safe to assume that all trust between the judges, a collegial group once referred to as "the brethren", is gone.

    In an era when political norms have been broken like pottery in an earthquake, another big piece has fallen.

    Democratic governors of several states including California, New Mexico and Michigan announced plans to enshrine abortion rights within their constitutions even if the court overturned Roe v Wade.

    "I promise you this: I will fight like hell to make sure abortion remains safe, legal and accessible in our state," Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.

    News outlet Politico published the leaked document in full, quoting Justice Alito as saying: "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.

    "And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, [it has] enflamed debate and deepened division."

    Rival groups of protesters continued demonstrations outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with anti-abortion activists chanting "Roe v Wade has got to go" and abortion rights supporters shouting "abortion is healthcare".

    "They are not going to get away with this," pro-choice campaigner Reverend Wendy Hamilton told Reuters news agency. "There is more of us than there is of them, and we are going to fight."

    "This is just tearing apart everything that we've worked for," another demonstrator said.

    Source : www.bbc.com

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