A newspaper report has leaked a substantial majority of judges on the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) were planning to vote in favor of overturning the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling whereby abortion became legal in the country.
Justice Samuel Alito was reported by Politico to believe that abortion rights are not deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions. His opinion would allegedly be endorsed by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, thus reaching a decisive majority of 5 votes out of 9.
Following the report, the dominant liberal wing of the US press wrote headlines warning the right to abortion in the United States was in serious jeopardy.
According to Politico, Alito wrote a 98-page draft that he reportedly submitted to the court, which is also mostly conservative. The document dates back to Feb. 10 last.
Hundreds of people gathered spontaneously in front of the Supreme Court headquarters in Washington DC. Some were there to protest and others to celebrate.
We hold that Roe and Casey should be overturned, Alito wrote in the document posted on Politico's website. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the abortion question to the elected representatives of the people.
In Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court held that access to abortion was a woman's constitutional right. And in the Planned Parenthood v Casey 1992 ruling, the court guaranteed a woman's right to have an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which typically occurs between 22 and 24 weeks gestation.
The inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions, Alito wrote.
If the court upholds his opinion, the United States would return to the situation before 1973, when each State was free to prohibit or authorize pregnancy terminations.
Following the press report, Chief Justice John Roberts ordered Tuesday an investigation into the unprecedented and “egregious breach of trust.”
“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,” Roberts said in a 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,” the magistrate went on.
“I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak,” he added.
In this scenario, a weakened President Joseph Biden, whose popular acceptance drops by the hour, has announced he would gear up to defend abortion in the USA, which he believes to be fundamental.
We will be ready when any ruling is issued, Biden stressed.
Six out of the SCOTUS' 9 magistrates are known Conservatives. In addition to the five who have been reported to back Alito's opinion, the sixth is no other than Roberts.