The leaks from the Supreme Court about its impending move to strike down Roe v. Wade continue, with Politico reporting that there has been no movement inside the court since the draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito. No conservative justices have shifted position, and no dissents have been circulated within the court, according to sources, while the justices have been rocked by the leak and the ensuing outrage.
While Chief Justice John Roberts is, according to previous leaks, looking to peel one of the far-far-right justices off to join him in a ruling slashing Roe’s abortion rights by upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban but falling short of the no-holds-barred destruction of all abortion rights in the Alito draft, he’s apparently not succeeding. Part of that, one of Politico’s sources suggested, is coming out of a longstanding grudge on the court.
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Roberts was the deciding vote in upholding the Affordable Care Act, and he reportedly switched positions just days before the decision was announced, infuriating his fellow conservatives. According to “an attorney close to several conservative justices,” the resentment lingers: “There is a price to be paid for what he did. Everybody remembers it.”
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Conservative law professor Jonathan Adler also notes that ongoing resentment, while suggesting that the latest leak to Politico “leaves open the possibility that especially after the leak, draft opinions are being held more closely. So stuff could be happening behind the scenes,” and noting that in some major past cases—including the Affordable Care Act one—“the ultimate coalitions were forged privately, and surprised some of the other justices.”
If a decision about how dramatically to overturn 50 years of abortion rights in 2022 is being affected by a decision about the constitutionality of a health care law in 2012, the Supreme Court—and specifically its right-wing justices—is doing a really good job discrediting itself as an institution and making the case for reform.
There’s an internal investigation into the leak of Alito’s draft opinion, but here’s an important point:
Whatever is going on over there, the Supreme Court is a mess in ways transcending its Trump-McConnell stacking and extremism. Unfortunately, reproductive rights for millions of people are what’s on the line in the current infighting and strategic leaking.
America doesn’t want abortion overturned, does want an expanded Supreme Court