The Supreme Court has privately voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, striking down the case that has guaranteed basic abortion rights in the U.S. since its 1973 ruling.
News regarding the judicial body’s decision comes from a majority draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., which Politico obtained and published on Monday evening. The leaked document regarding a pending case represents a stunning breakdown of the Supreme Court’s confidentiality that is largely unprecedented in modern history. Politico says it has authenticated the draft.
Should the Supreme Court elect to overturn Roe v. Wade, the ruling’s holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion would be rescinded, dramatically reshaping the landscape of abortion rights in the United States.
In the 98-page draft opinion, Justice Alito writes that Roe v. Wade “was egregiously wrong from the start” and calls the reasoning behind the ruling “exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” The document also renounces the 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — which maintained rights established by Roe v. Wade.
The Court’s opinions are currently being settled regarding the case of Dobbs v. Jackson, which concerns Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortion. A final opinion is not expected to be released for several weeks.
According to Politico, the leaked document dates to early February. Votes and language could be subject to change as deliberations continue before a final opinion is released.
The draft opinion indicates that Amy Coney Barrett, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas would vote to support Alito’s opinion. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor would vote against. It remains unclear how Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would plan to vote.