US Supreme Court Could Be on the Brink of Outlawing Abortion

This, according to Politico, based on the draft of a Supreme Court opinion it obtained. It would be a historic decision, both for what it means and the incredible leak that has revealed the deliberations of the highest court in the United States.

The United States Supreme Court has decided to outlaw abortion, according to the draft opinion obtained by Politico. Justice Samuel Alito, appointed by George W. Bush, has drafted a majority opinion for the nine-member court, declaring on page five that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” Roe v. Wade is the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which protected a woman’s right to abortion.

This would be a historic decision, both for what it means and for the incredible leak of the Supreme Court’s deliberations and the consequential loss of prestige for the highest court in the United States, a court whose powers are unmatched in any other liberal democracy. According to Politico, the five conservative judges support the ruling, while the three who are left-leaning reject it. Chief Justice John Roberts, also appointed by George W. Bush but who has been moving toward the center, particularly in social matters, has not yet taken a position.

Abortion has been legal in the United States for 49 years as a result of the litigation brought by Norma McCorvey of Texas,—under the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” to preserve her anonymity—against District Attorney Henry Wade in 1969. The case reached the Supreme Court after a four-year legal battle, where the court held that abortion aligns with the Constitution and then established extremely broad time limits for the procedure.

However, the decision never satisfied the public. In fact, Congress let five decades pass without promoting a single law that would reinforce the ruling. The reason behind this is simple: Members of Congress know that abortion is a political quicksand that guarantees political death. Meanwhile, public opinion is divided, with growing tension between abortion-rights proponents and anti-abortion proponents, tension that has extended beyond debate into violence, as in 2015, when three people were killed in an attack against an abortion clinic in Colorado. Over the last two years, a number of Republican states have successfully managed to limit abortion time limits in the U.S. as much as possible, aiming for reconsideration of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. Some 59% of Americans favor legalization of abortion, while 39% believe it should be criminalized. According to the Pew Research Center, the ratio is exactly what it was in 1973, when Roe was decided.

An eventual ban on abortion would constitute a political and social earthquake in the United States. The draft authored by Alito states that decisions about abortion must be left to the people’s “elected representatives,” which means passing the buck to Congress. At the same time, outlawing abortion would be a huge rallying point for Democrats in this year’s midterms, and probably for the 2024 presidential election.

Finally, there is the institutional disrepute. In the nearly 2 1/2 centuries that the high court has existed, there has never been such a leak about a pending ruling. Thus, the news from Politico delves deeper into the idea that, for an increasing number of Americans, the court is completely politicized. This perception is correct. Republican presidents appoint Republican judges, while Democrats appoint Democratic judges. In fact, the Republican Party has spent the four decades since Ronald Reagan was president implementing a strategy to control the United States judiciary, something that is perfectly legal in the U.S., where politicians choose judges. Democrats have only begun to fight back with Joe Biden. But they’re four decades late, however, and Republicans have the initiative.

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