It’s official, the Supreme Court of the United States has officially overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ending the nationwide constitutional right to an abortion after more than 50 years. The decision is historic in more ways than one, as in the lead up there was an unprecedented leak of an internal draft, threatening the integrity of the court.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the initial and final draft of the 6-3 majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, with Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts all concurring.
In part, Alito wrote: “Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant (e.g., it’s assertion that abortion was probably never a crime under the common law). …
“Although the Court acknowledge that States had a legitimate interest in protecting ‘potential life,’ it found that this interest could not justify any restriction on previability abortions. The Court did not explain the basis for this line, and even abortion supporters have found it hard to defend Roe’s reasoning.”
The decision over abortion access will now be returned to the states, where abortion could be illegal at any point in pregnancy or legal until birth depending on the various laws.
For the pro-life crowd, this victory is one that has been decades in the making. Since 1973, the movement, largely led by the Catholic Church in the initial years, has grown and the March for Life every January has become one of the largest annual human rights demonstrations in the world.
Needless to say, abortion supporters are incensed by the decision.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted, “The Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course for our lives. But make no mistake—we are a movement that will demand we are treated like equal citizens.”
The country broadly remains mostly split on the issue of abortion, with the latest Gallup Poll in 2022 showing that 35% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances and 50% believing it should only be legal in certain circumstances and 13% believe it should be illegal under all circumstances. (Note: It appears that the poll was conducted after the leak as the results veered sharply from historic trends.)
Regardless of where someone falls on the pro-life or pro-choice side of the abortion divide, this decision is a victory for the entire country as it shows that despite someone leaking a draft opinion, the justices were not swayed from their initial votes. Though Chief Justice Roberts went from more of a middle position to joining the majority opinion and releasing a concurring opinion, the leak, likely designed to instigate public pressure against conservative justices to protect Roe, failed.
This is a triumph for liberty and for the Supreme Court.
In many ways, the nation’s highest court is often seen as the only branch of the federal government that remains above the mudslinging of politics and unblemished by the dismal approval rating of the executive branch, which sits at 36%, and Congress, which has an approval rating at 18%, both according to the latest Gallup Poll.
That started to change first with the contentious Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas, the latter was accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment. It continued with the aggressive campaigns against former President Donald Trump’s nominees to the bench, most specifically Brett Kavanaugh, who was hit with
The leak of an initial draft of the Dobbs decision via Politico on May 2, 2022, was shocking. Never before had any initial draft of a Supreme Court decision leaked to the press. Many believe that the sole reason to break the integrity and secrecy of the court was to unleash public pressure on conservative justices in the hopes that they might be willing to bend and change their opinion.
If this happened, it would have been catastrophic for the country and called into question the authority and integrity of the court.
As a result, most of the justices had to go into hiding, as their homes became magnates for pro-abortion activists. A young man even traveled all the way from California to Maryland in order to try and kill Justice Kavanaugh over this issue. When arrested, he had a gun and burglary tools.
None of this is good for the Supreme Court, which is supposed to rule according to the law and the Constitution, not the loudest voices in the mob or under threat of violence.
If the Supreme Court caved to public pressure, what would that mean for the country moving forward? Nothing good.
Abortion remains a divisive issue and likely about half of the American population is upset over the outcome—but rule of law won. Serious threats of violence didn’t interfere with due process, and that’s a win for all Americans.