Biden joins federal, state politicians in reacting to leaked Roe v. Wade draft opinion
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Politicians at the federal and state level are reacting to a recent report suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court would strike down Roe v. Wade, which would cause federal abortion rights in the country to be overturned.
Monday night, online website POLITICO.com published what has since been confirmed to the Associated Press by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to be an authentic first draft of an opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has not independently confirmed the report.
Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft opinion, also ordering an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.”
To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.
We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.
I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.– Chief Justice John Roberts
The nation’s highest court decided the landmark case in 1973, then largely reaffirmed the decision in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
While the reported 98-page draft does not make the court’s decision official, if the justices affirm the decision it would overturn the federal protection whenever the final decision was published by the court.
POLITICO reports that Republican-appointed justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted in the majority to strike down Roe v. Wade, while Democratic-appointed justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voted to uphold the law. Chief Justice Roberts’s vote is unclear, and it’s also unknown whether he would join the majority or minority opinions or write his own.
The revelation comes as many states have rushed to pass legislation strengthening abortion bans or protecting abortion rights. However, by striking down Roe v. Wade, it could allow for lawmakers to create a federal ban on abortions.
5 EYEWITNESSS NEWS is gathering reaction and will update this report throughout the day. Refresh your page to make sure you are seeing the latest updates.
Tuesday, President Joe Biden sounded off on the report, issuing the following statement:
“We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court.
With that critical caveat, I want to be clear on three points about the cases before the Supreme Court.
First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on “a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty’… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.” I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.
Second, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.
Third, if the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”– President Joe Biden
Vice President Kamala Harris, meanwhile, submitted this statement in response:
The United States Supreme Court has now confirmed that the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade is genuine.
Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy. What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women. The rights of all Americans are at risk. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have.– Vice President Kamala Harris
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted the following after the report was published, and was soon followed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan:
At the federal level, Minnesota U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith has also sounded off on the report:
Congresswomen Betty McCollum (D-MN), Angie Craig (D-MN) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also sounded off on the report:
“Overturning Roe would put the lives of women across the country at risk. It would fly in the face of decades of precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion. And they will not stop here. Expand the court. Congress must also abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade into law.”Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who tweeted this statement regarding the recent Politico report.
They were joined by Congressman Dean Phillips:
Meanwhile, back at the state level, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen also took to Twitter to discuss the report:
Fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls also issued a statement after 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to his campaign for comment:
“I am beyond proud to be a pro-life Conservative who actively lives out my values. The court’s preliminary decision to protect life should serve as an indicator to what we should be teaching the future generations of America. as a family man, I strive to be proactive and teach my children to live out our conservative values, even adopting a son from a 13 year old pregnant mother. The truth of the matter is, I am proud to defend my values and life decisions against the far-Left’s attacks, and today I am even more thankful that the Supreme Court is choosing to defend the unborn against cruel and radical abortion laws. This is what we’re fighting for and as Governor I promise to continue defending life. This unprecedented leak threatens the sanctity of the highest court in the nation and simultaneously undermines justice. Whoever is responsible for this leak should be held responsible for the damage caused to the reputation of the Court and those involved in this historical decision.”Kendall Qualls
Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman issued this statement Tuesday on Twitter:
State Sen. Michelle Benson took to Twitter to address the report:
The potential reversal of Roe v. Wade would impact Wisconsin, where a law dating back to 1849 could be reinstated. The law bans Wisconsin doctors from performing abortions – with the exception of saving the life of the mother. There, violators would be charged with a felony, and if convicted, face up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Congressmen Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Ron Kind (D-WI) also issued statements Tuesday:
“I am withholding comment until a final ruling is handed down, rather than speculating about the status of internal deliberations based on the unethical leaking of internal court documents.”Tom Tiffany, Representative for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District
“Deeply personal health decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor – not the government. If finalized, this Supreme Court ruling would deny millions of women across Wisconsin and the nation the right to choose. This ruling would also potentially jeopardize many individual privacy protections against government intrusion in our personal lives that were strengthened by or stem from Roe and later rulings based upon Roe, like the right to get married, use contraception, decide how to educate our children, and more. The House has already voted to codify Roe v. Wade and the Senate must do the same.”Ron Kind, Representative for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District