The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade if finalized, is authentic, confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday.
After the website POLITICO published a leaked draft majority opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision legalizing abortion, the Supreme Court’s information officer issued a statement confirming the document’s authenticity.
The press release stressed that the leaked opinion did not represent the Court’s final decision.
“Yesterday, a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” read the statement.
The press release included an official statement from Chief Justice Roberts in which he expressed outrage at the leak and announced that he had directed an investigation into its source:
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.
“We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.
“I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak,” wrote Roberts.
The Court was expected to issue its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June. That closely watched case concerns a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Lower courts had ruled against the law as a violation of Roe v. Wade. Pro-life advocates have been eagerly awaiting the decision, buoyed by oral arguments in December that indicated that the ruling might see Roe overturned.
The 98-page draft majority opinion, if finalized, would send decisions about abortion back to the states.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” writes Alito in the draft opinion.
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” he said,
According to POLITICO, in a vote taken after oral arguments on the Mississippi case were heard in December, Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.