No other draft opinions are being circulated in the Supreme Court in the potential decision to overturn Roe v. Wade beyond the one that was leaked to the public, including opposing views from the three liberal justices, and there is no sign that the court will change its course and vote to keep the landmark 1973 decision on the right to an abortion.
The court's nine justices are preparing for their already-planned closed-door conference on Thursday, marking their first meeting since the Justice Samuel Alito's draft document concerning the Mississippi abortion case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, reports Politico, the website that published the leaked draft document.
The document, showing the not-yet-finalized decision to overturn Roe, was from February. As there are no other documents circulating, there is no indication that the conservative justices siding with Alito have changed their votes.
And since there has not been a dissenting document from the liberal judges, that may be why there has not yet been a second draft of Alito's majority opinion, Politico noted.
The leaked document has sparked a fiery response from both sides of the abortion issue, with Republicans blaming Democrats for the release as a political move as the nation's midterm primary election season continues and pro-choice advocates protesting the potential loss of the right to an abortion being protected.
The document has also sparked protests at the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with other protests planned for the homes of Alito and the remaining conservative justices backing the Roe's overturn, and the tension and the leak have "burdened the court," an unnamed person close to the court's conservatives, told Politico.
"This is the most serious assault on the court, perhaps from within, that the Supreme Court's ever experienced," the source commented. "It's an understatement to say they are heavily, heavily burdened by this."
Another person close to the court, meanwhile, maintained that the liberal justices are also "as shocked as anyone" by the leaked document.
It is not yet clear whether Roberts will join with the liberal justices to dissent against overturning Roe, which would make the vote 5-4, or if he will craft his own opinion or even vote along with Alito.
Politico noted that Roberts, who former President George W. Bush nominated, could lobby one of the other Republican-appointed justices, Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, or Clarence Thomas, to withdraw from Alito's opinion and sign a centrist opinion that would not formally end Roe but would uphold Mississippi's side in the Dobbs case, allowing it to keep its 15-week cutoff date on abortions.
The justices' decision on the Dobbs case is expected sometime in June, before their summer break starts at the beginning of July, giving them just seven weeks to reach a decision that is complicated by the leak and rising protests over a ruling that would send the decisions on abortion law back to the states.
Outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, has stated that the administration backs the right to "peaceful protest" that does not violate the law, and said President Joe Biden believes that "violence, threats, and intimidation have no place in political discourse."
Many Republican lawmakers, however, have said that the White House is not doing enough to back federal laws against intimidating members of the court.
"These are not valid forms of protest," Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., told Newsmax on Tuesday. "Federal law and state laws in all of these jurisdictions prohibit this. What these crowds are trying to do clearly is intimidate the members of the court. They're trying to interfere with the administration of justice, and that is a blatant violation of the law."
Court watchers say that Roberts does not seem likely to agree with Alito's draft, as he didn't assign the majority opinion to himself, which he would have done if he joined the court's other Republican appointees.
But there are also signs that his power in the court is waning, as "there does seem to be some bitterness among the other justices," Thomas Keck, a professor of constitutional law and politics at Syracuse University, commented.
Curt Levey, a conservative attorney, and veteran of several Supreme Court confirmation battles agreed.
"There probably was a time when Roberts could've convinced one of the other conservative justices," he said. "He might well have succeeded in that a few years ago … Maybe this is the ultimate payback that in the most controversial of all cases and the biggest threat to the legitimacy of the court that he no longer has the persuasive power."
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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