The Supreme Court may well be poised to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated inside the court, as reported by Politico on Monday.
The draft opinion is described by the site as an "unflinching repudiation" of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections for abortion rights in America, and of a 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that basically upheld the tenets of Roe.
"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Alito writes, according to Politico.
"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," he writes "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."
Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been subject to change as drafts make the rounds. There could be further drafts and deals brokered among the justices. Politico further said it was not known if there are already subsequent drafts.
Politico said the holding won't be finalized, though, until actual publication, likely in the next couple of months.
At least one lawmaker, Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, took to Twitter on Monday to urge an investigation into the extraordinary leak adding that "if this was an attempt to intimidate the justices" over their opinions, "the individual responsible must be punished."
If the ruling as drafted takes hold, there will be immediate implications and reverberations. A half-century of constitutional protection would give way to each state deciding how to allow, restrict, or ban abortion within its own borders.
Already, the matter of the draft itself is breaking precedent. As Politico wrote, no draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The result of what's been leaked is likely to be intensifying debate in coming days and weeks while the public awaits a final version.
Though some legal scholars and court-watchers have predicted a whittling away of Roe for months now, the draft takes matters further in flat-out rejecting Roe's logic and legal protections.
States have already been working in anticipation of a Roe reversal, with several sharply restricting abortion. In some cases, inspired by a law passed in Texas, prosecutions can be brought against anyone aiding in obtaining an abortion.
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