Samuel Alito’s opinion overturning Roe is reportedly still the only draft that has been circulated among the justices.
By Calvin Freiburger
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to release an unspecified number of rulings this coming Monday, May 16, though it is unknown whether a long-awaited ruling on the notorious abortion precedent Roe v. Wade will be among them.
On May 2, Politico published a leaked draft of a majority opinion by conservative Justice Samuel Alito for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. The draft declares that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and therefore it is “time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” In response, the Court announced the draft was authentic but “does not represent a final decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
It remains unclear whether the draft represents a final decision to overturn Roe, is a tentative decision subject to change, was prepared in anticipation of a majority to overturn, or was written in hopes of persuading Alito’s colleagues to sign on. Regardless, the leak has sent shockwaves across the political spectrum, with pro-lifers tentatively rejoicing, pro-abortion politicians and activists lashing out in anger, and many speculating that the leak may have been intended to pressure judges to flip their votes, or to incite hatred and threats against them.
On Thursday, SCOTUSblog reported that the Court “expects to issue one or more decisions in argued cases from the current term” starting Monday morning. The Associated Press adds that the justices currently have 37 possible cases that have been argued and await resolution. The justices met privately on Thursday, though it is unknown whether they were discussing the leak or routine matters in preparation for upcoming rulings.
On May 11, Politico followed up with a report that Alito’s opinion “remains the court’s only circulated draft in the pending Mississippi abortion case.” This has prompted some to speculate that Dobbs will not be among Monday’s releases, as there likely would not have been enough time for the justices to digest and respond to one another’s concurring and dissenting opinions.
If Alito’s opinion does prove to be the Supreme Court’s final decision, its ramifications will be drastic. More than 20 states currently have laws on the books that would effectively ban abortion within their borders upon Roe’s fall, from pre-Roe abortion bans that went unenforced to “trigger laws” designed not to take effect until a ruling like today’s. In those states, abortion would become illegal as soon as the ruling is issued.
More than a dozen other states plus the District of Columbia have laws on the books legally protecting abortion, at least three of which explicitly codify the practice as a “right.” Abortion would remain legal in those jurisdictions, as well as the remaining states that have not spelled out abortion’s status one way or another, but without Roe state residents would have the power to vote on the issue for themselves, or lobby their elected representatives to change the law in either direction.
Editor’s note. This appeared at LifeSiteNews and is reposted with permission.