"This is an earthquake," says the head of the legal world after a report that Justice Alito's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.
As of late Monday, Politico reported on and released a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and the entire constitutional right to abortion. It was written by Justice Alito and would completely overturn the right.
Among other things, Alito's First Draft Majority Opinion shows him writing that "Roe was wrong from the start."
"Roe and Casey haven't brought about a national agreement on abortion," says the opinion. "They have sparked debate and made things even more polarized."
The name of the case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. It's a fight against Mississippi's restrictive abortion law, which bans all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This is in direct conflict with the standards set by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
There is no legal right to abortion in the 68-page draft majority opinion, which says that this is a bad idea. Even though "the Constitution did not say anything about abortion," it said Roe set up a set of rules that looked more like "a set of rules that would be found in a statute that was written by a statute legislature."
As for the concept of stare decisis, Alito said that it "does not require us to always follow Roe's abuse of judicial power."
It's rare for a case of this magnitude to be leaked, but the legal community seems to agree that the draft opinion is an accurate representation of what the high court will say.
There is no word yet on how Chief Justice John Roberts plans to vote. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer are working on a dissent, but there is no word yet on how Roberts plans to vote.
Ex-Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal tweeted that "there are a lot of signs that the opinion is legit." He said that the length and depth of the opinion and its analysis were two of the signs.
Also, law professor Rick Hasen tweeted that he thought the leaked document was an Alito draft because the language in it "really sounds like Alito," and because he thinks Josh Gerstein is a good source.
When the Supreme Court's documents were leaked, a University of Texas law professor called it a "earthquake." Steve Vladeck tweeted that it was important for the legal future of reproductive freedom, as well as "the stunning breach of the Court's norms of confidentiality." As Vladeck pointed out, the leak was "unprecedented," and "No matter what you think of it," he said.
An "earthquake" is what SCOTUSblog called the leak, and they say that it will break down trust between members of SCOTUSblog thinks it will. "This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable crime," SCOTUSblog said in a tweet.
When Harry Litman tweeted about the leak of the Alito draft in the abortion case, he said that it's "impossible to overstate how stunning and jaw-dropping the leak is." Litman also called the publicly-shared draft "unprecedented," which is just the first step.
He did this by tweeting about an interview with Ian Samuel, who worked for Antonin Scalia as a clerk. Ford said that the context of the leak was important, and that Samuel was a former clerk of Scalia.
Samuel said that Scalia told his clerks, "If I ever find out that you have broken the confidentiality of what goes on in these chambers, I will do everything I can to ruin your career. I will do everything I can."
Professor Dan Epps also said that the leak would likely lead to a "serious inquisition" at the Supreme Court, as the Chief tries to figure out who leaked.
When the draft opinion was leaked, reporter Cami Mondeaux said that barricades were already up around the Supreme Court building.
In the draft decision, there is a note that it was sent to the justices on Feb. 10. That's not to say that the opinions of the Court are final until they're officially made public. Legal experts, on the other hand, seem to agree that something very close to Alito's draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health will be out soon.