In December, the Supreme Court heard arguments over Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks.
The court has yet to officially decide that case. However, on Monday, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion ruling in favor of the ban.
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It’s a stunning decision that threatens to completely alter the 2022 midterm elections. Later that night, CNN reported on the leanings of Chief Justice John Roberts, a potential swing voter on this case. The network described Roberts as “apparently… dissenting” from the court’s majority.
In other words, Supreme Court leaked two reports in one day… despite its reputation for secrecy.
🚨(CNN) — Roberts does NOT want to completely overturn Roe v Wade, meaning he apparently would be dissenting from Alito's draft opinion, likely w the court's 3 liberals, sources tell CNN.
Roberts is willing, however, to uphold MS law banning abortion at 15 weeks, CNN learned.
— Mike Valerio (@ValerioCNN) May 3, 2022
Politico described the leak as “a rare breach of Supreme Court secrecy and tradition around its deliberations.” The publication wrote, “The Supreme Court remains one of Washington’s most secretive institutions, priding itself on protecting the confidentiality of its internal deliberations.”
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it more plainly, according to Politico.
“At the Supreme Court, those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know,” Ginsburg reportedly used to say.
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Politicians have turned to Twitter to express their shock at this uncharacteristic behavior by the Supreme Court, which is supposed to be non-political. The leak was clearly released to impact the decision and put political pressure on Republicans — and the Supreme Court — ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
For example, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., described the leak as an “apparently coordinated” ploy.
“I certainly hope every Democrat Senator is ready to answer whether they saw the opinion before Politico published it, and if they know who leaker is,” Hawley tweeted Tuesday, presumably referring to the Democrats’ tendency to use abortion for fundraising.
Other politicians are using this news for their own self-aggrandizement. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. used the opportunity to promote her new bill.
“If #SCOTUS is going to legislate from the bench and turn back the clock 50 years on #RoeVWade, then the Senate needs to pass my Women’s Health Protection Act,” Baldwin tweeted Monday. “If we need to eliminate the filibuster to get it done, we should do that too.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act passed the House last year, mostly along party lines. “The bill is unlikely to advance in the Senate, where 10 Republicans and all Democrats would need to back the bill in order to meet the 60-vote threshold to beat a filibuster,” NPR reported at the time.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., used this opportunity to preach about student debt… in a sign of her obsessive fixation on this issue.
Take a look —
People elected Democrats precisely so we could lead in perilous moments like these- to codify Roe, hold corruption accountable, & have a President who uses his legal authority to break through Congressional gridlock on items from student debt to climate.
It’s high time we do it.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 3, 2022
If #SCOTUS is going to legislate from the bench and turn back the clock 50 years on #RoeVWade, then the Senate needs to pass my Women’s Health Protection Act, and if we need to eliminate the filibuster to get it done, we should do that too. #WHPA
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) May 3, 2022
Given the apparently coordinated nature of this hit on the Court, I certainly hope every Democrat Senator is ready to answer whether they saw the opinion before Politico published it, and if they know who leaker is
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 3, 2022
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The leaked draft was written by Justice Samuel Alito on Feb. 10. It goes on for 98 pages, including 31 pages of appendices, and it appears on Politico‘s website.
As a draft, it remains subject to change.
The Horn editorial team