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Congressional Democrats moved to cast doubt on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy on Tuesday, after a leaked draft opinion indicated that the court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving the question of abortion’s legality up to individual states.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion for the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Some Democrats resurfaced the idea of packing the court by expanding the number of justices, though that move would depend on support from moderate Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who have opposed court-packing.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito authored a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the states. Alito pictured here while speaking at the University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Ind in 2021. (Michael Caterina /South Bend Tribune via AP)
More broadly, Democrats quickly moved to delegitimize the court’s anticipated ruling.
“If the majority Republican justices stay the course, this decision will go down as one of the most supremely political acts in Supreme Court history,” Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote on Twitter.
“I hope the Republican justices seriously reconsider a decision to upend nearly 50 years of precedent and harm millions. It would be a blow from which the Court may not recover, and which would fall squarely on women of this country,” Whitehouse added.
New York Rep. Yvette Clarke called the draft decision “a stark reminder that abortion rights are still under attack by this extreme Supreme Court.”
New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone said the decision, as drafted, “will further undermine trust in the Supreme Court and cause devastating harm to our people and our nation.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed the court’s conservative justices had “defiled precedent and the Court’s reputation” by apparently voting to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was sharply critical of the Supreme Court after a draft decision leaked showing the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade ((AP Photo/Susan Walsh))
“Several conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the people, have lied to the Senate, ripped up the Constitution, and defiled precedent and the Court’s reputation—all at the expense of women who could soon be stripped of bodily autonomy and constitutional rights,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.
Republicans, meanwhile, celebrated the anticipated ruling as a victory for protecting the right to life, while expressing alarm at the astonishing leaking of the draft opinion.
“Somebody, likely somebody inside the court itself, leaked a confidential brief to the press, to stir up a pressure campaign,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Whoever committed this lawless act knew exactly what it could bring about.”
“The same political movement that used a leak to move up the timeline of Justice Breyer’s retirement process is trying to use yet another leak to make the court less secure and less impartial,” he added.
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom, Bradford Betz and Tyler O’Neill contributed reporting