Protesters swarmed the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night after Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion showing the majority of the justices voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that federally protects abortion. Votes during the drafting process are fluid, however, so the decision is not final.
The leaked 98-page document dated Feb. 10, 2022 and denoted “1st Draft” is authored by Justice Alito, who says, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled … It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The draft opinion confronts the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that challenges Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Local reporters on the ground showed barricades already constructed around the Supreme Court building.
Videos on the ground showed a growing crowd, with some chanting “Pro-choice!” and “F—k Kavanaugh!”
Protesters eventually approached and leaned over barricades. Several security officers were seen patrolling nearby.
The court hasn’t officially released its decision, but is expected to before its term ends before early July.
After the draft leaked, a Supreme Court spokesperson said only, “The Court has no comment.”
A breach of the Supreme Court’s long-held tradition of secrecy toward deliberations is rare.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Alito went on to say in the draft opinion.
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” Alito wrote in the opinion.
A source close to Supreme Court deliberations told Politico that Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett had voted alongside Alito.
Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were working on dissents to the opinion, the source added. It was unclear whether Chief Justice John Roberts had voted.