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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Roe v Wade: US supreme court preliminary vote overturns abortion ruling, leaked draft shows – live updates | Roe v Wade

A lot of ongoing shock and surprise at the leaking of the US supreme court’s draft decision on Roe v Wade.

Neal Katyal, who has argued dozens of cases before the court and as a young lawyer worked for Justice Stephen Breyer, compared the apparent leak to The New York Times’ 1971 publication of the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers.

Katyal wrote on Twitter:

This is the equivalent of the pentagon papers leak, but at the Supreme Court. I’m pretty sure there has never ever been such a leak. And certainly not in the years I’ve been following the Supreme Court.

Only a handful of people have access to decisions before they’re published, which – usually – makes the Supreme Court watertight.

That group includes only the justices themselves and the small group who work for them, the young lawyers who work for the justices as clerks for a year. They all sign pledges of confidentiality.

Still, there have been leaks before, though perhaps not of this magnitude.

In fact, as CNN’s Sara Sidner points out – the original Roe V Wade decision was also leaked, a few hours before it was published:

This story from the Washington Post has the fascinating story behind that.

Voices on both sides of the political divide in the US have reacted with shock to the leak of the US supreme court’s draft decision on Roe v Wade. Here is a selection:

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood president

This leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears … While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating, and comes just as anti-abortion rights groups unveil their ultimate plan to ban abortion nationwide… [W]e will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.

Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state

This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, and lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace.

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator

An extremist supreme court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back, not ever.

Ken Paxton, Republican Texas attorney general

I hope that Scotus returns the question of abortion where it belongs: the states. This is why I led a 24-state coalition in support of MS’s law banning them after 15 wks. I’ll [continue] to ensure that TX protects the unborn and pray for the end of abortion across our nation.

Tom Cotton, Republican senator

The supreme court and the DoJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary. In the meantime, Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning and I pray the court follows the constitution and allows the states to once again protect unborn life.

Josh Hawley, Republican senator

The left continues its assault on the supreme court with an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate. The justices mustn’t give in to this attempt to corrupt the process. Stay strong. I will say, if this is the court’s opinion, it’s a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful.

Find more reaction here:

Archie Bland

Archie Bland

If you are just catching up with the news this morning, this explainer my colleague Archie Bland is extremely useful:

Leaked draft shows preliminary vote to overturn Rode v Wade passed

The Supreme Court is poised to overturn the most fundamental rulings in US law that enshrined the right to abortion nationwide, according to a leaked draft opinion.

The draft opinion, reported by Politico late on Monday night, seeks to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade 1973 ruling and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v Casey – that largely upheld the right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito – a George W. Bush nominee – wrote the opinion and it was signed by four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. While the ruling is not final and could change, that gives it a majority on the nine-member court.

Questions have been raised around the authenticity of the leak, which would be the most serious breach in the court’s history. The supreme court and the White House have declined to comment.

However, the draft opinion runs 98 pages, including a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws, and includes 118 footnotes and legal experts have suggested it looks legitimate.

Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of Planned Parenthood, said the leaked opinion “is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears”. Hillary Clinton described it as an “utter disgrace”.

Good morning, and welcome to the US Live Blog. We will be with you today to cover this critical moment in US history.

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