A leaked court draft written by Justice Samuel Alito indicates that the Supreme Court will turn over the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which federally legalized abortion across the country. The case has not been officially decided, and it is unclear if the draft is still undergoing adjustments.

According to the leaked opinion, circulated between the justices in early February, Alito was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts most likely sided with the three liberal justices but could be writing a separate opinion.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

If the draft ruling were to be confirmed in an official opinion, it would be up to each state to vote on abortion rules. Justices have also been known to change their votes during the drafting process. The court’s final opinion is expected in late June.


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“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito added. The reasoning was “exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

Politico reported that they obtained “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.”

The leak is among the greatest scandals in Supreme Court history, with many believing the leaker hoped to pressure the court into changing its opinion. This is the first time a Supreme Court draft opinion has gone public.

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