WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the unprecedented leak of an internal Supreme Court document, Utah Democrats are condemning an apparent decision by the five conservative justices of the High Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“If the reports are correct and the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade this year,” says Diane Lewis, Utah Democratic Party chair, “we will see one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation go into effect in Utah.”

Lewis was referring to a so-called trigger law passed by the Republican supermajority in the Legislature and signed into law in 2020.

“The Republicans have been fighting for decades to impose their unpopular, extremist views on this issue upon Americans,” Lewis explains, “while Democrats have stood firm in the belief that reproductive freedom is fundamental and must be protected.”

According to the non-partisan blog POLITICO, the Supreme Court has voted to strike down landmark decisions Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) that made the right to choose the law of the land for nearly 50 years.

In a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and obtained by POLITICO, Alito wrote that the conservative majority of justices (Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas) agree with him that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue to the people’s elected representatives.”

If the draft opinion is upheld in a final decision, likely prior to the High Court’s recess in June, it will end a 49-year guarantee of federal protection of abortion rights and allow each state’s legislature to decide the issue.

It will undoubtedly also ignite another frenzy of debate by Democrats whether to pack the Supreme Court, thus diluting the effect of the conservative majority.

The draft ruling rises from consideration of a Mississippi law seeking to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. After hearing oral arguments in December in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the justices held a preliminary vote on the case and assigned Alito to write a draft of the court’s majority opinion.

In the draft document, Alito argues that the 1973 decision was ill-conceived in that it invented a right that is not mentioned in the Constitution.

“It’s reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed debate and deepened division.”

The court’s liberal justices – Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Soytomayor – are presumably drafting dissents. There is no hint of the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts.

“This ruling just emphasizes what we already knew,” Lewis explains. “State legislative races are vitally important and the state legislature is where we will have to take this fight if the Supreme Court does, in fact, overturn Roe v. Wade.”

But Lewis emphasizes that abortion is still legal and will remain so until the High Court takes official action on the issues.

She acknowledges, however, that nearly half of the 50 states now have trigger laws on the books that will effectively ban abortions if that happens.

Source link

Leave a Reply