Politico publishes purported leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion striking down Roe v. Wade

If the report is true, it is the first-ever major leak from the Supreme Court. 

Updated: May 2, 2022 - 11:41pm

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A reported draft of the majority opinion from Justice Samuel Alito in a Mississippi abortion case leaked to Politico suggests the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark  precedent establishing abortion as a constitutional right.

The reported 98-page opinion supported by at least five justices offers a sharp rebuke of Roe and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, both of which protected abortion rights.

Republican-appointed Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted with Alito after hearing oral arguments in December, and that lineup remains unchanged, a source told Politico. It remains unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote.

"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the justices reportedly wrote in the opinion for the Mississippi abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. "The constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are reportedly working on dissents.

"Abortion presents a profound moral question," the opinion acknowledges. "The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey regulated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives."

If the report is true, it would be the first-ever major leak from the Supreme Court. 

The draft is "almost certainly authentic," SCOTUSblog observed, adding that the draft "does not reflect the comments or reactions of other Justices."

The outlet called the leak the "gravest, most unforgivable sin" that will destroy "trust among the Justices and staff."

Nearly half of all U.S. states would be able to immediately prohibit abortion if Roe is overturned.

The Supreme Court is bracing for protests, as barricades have been placed around the building in Washington, D.C., reporter Cami Mondeaux stated.

Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley speculated on Fox News' "Hannity" on Monday night that the draft was leaked in an attempt to sway the final court opinion.

On the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged Congress to make Roe v. Wade into law and abolish the filibuster if necessary to do so.