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SCOTUS Leak Causes Public Scrutiny of Conservative Court

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Yesterday, a published copy of a draft opinion regarding the overturn of Roe v. Wade was leaked to the public and made a sensational splash on municipalities and individuals on both sides of the still-controversial decision making abortions legal. While officials scattered to explain that the document was “just a draft opinion” circulated internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work, the document indicates the court’s leaning to overturning the protections of Roe. v. Wade.

The scathing opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in an astonishing breach of confidentiality and secrecy became public earlier today and clearly indicates the court’s leaning to reverse the benchmark decision after 50 years of protection for women seeking abortions.

“This is really quite a radical decision basically means that all of the decisions you make in your private life … it’s a fundamental shift in America’s jurist prudence,” President Biden remarked prior to addressing an audience in Troy, Alabama.

Newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown nominated elaborated on the law during her recent Supreme Court confirmation when she was asked directly by Sen. Diane Feinstein about her opinion on the law.

“Do you agree with Justice Kavanaugh that Roe v. Wade is settled as a precedent, and will you, like Justice Barrett, commit to obey all the rules of stare decisis in cases related to the issue of abortion?” Feinstein asked.

Jackson responded when asked about the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade:

“I do agree with both Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Barrett on this issue. Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. They have established a framework that the Court has reaffirmed and in order to revisit – as Justice Barrett said – the Supreme Court looks at various factors because stare decisis is a very important principle.

It provides and establishes predictability — stability — it also serves as a restraint in this way on the exercise of judicial authority because the Court looks at whether or not precedence is relied upon – whether they’re workable – in addition to whether or not they are wrong, and other factors as well. So I agree with both of the statements that you read.”

Legal experts, legislators and pro-life organizations are arguing that stare decisis which means that courts will adhere to precedent in making their decisions and ultimately uphold the 50 year-old precent setting decision. (Stare decisis is Latin for ‘to stand by things decided.)’

Meanwhile, the flurry of activity over the leak includes this statement from

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., provided the following statement:

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.

Polling shows that the majority of Americans — about seven in ten, according to Pew — oppose the overturning of Roe v. Wade

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