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Supreme Court decisions in highly sensitive or policitzed cases often see release at the end of the court’s term in June or July, and this may still hold true for a potential landmark abortion case despite ongoing protests over a leaked draft opinion.
In the first day that the court has handed down opinions since the leak, the Supreme Court did not issue a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centers around a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before the point of fetal viability which had been the legal standard for decades.
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A draft opinion from Justice Samuel Alito dated February would, if published as the majority opinion, not just uphold the Mississippi law but overrule Roe v. Wade’s holding that said the right to get an abortion is protected by the Constitution.
Since the draft leaked, protesters have demonstrated outside the court building and even justices’ own homes. A statement issued by Chief Justice John Roberts the day after the draft was published by Politico called the leak a “betrwayal of the confidences of the Court, and that “[t]he work of the Court will not be affected in any way.”
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So far, that appears to be holding true.
The nine justices met for a scheduled conference on Thursday – their first since the leak and ensuing protests – and soon after it was announced that opinons would be issued on Monday. This led to speculation that they were going to hand down their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization earlier than court followers might had originally anticipated.
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Roberts said in his statement that he had called on the Marshal of the Court to investigate the leak and find its sources. The statement was included in a press release from the court that made clear that the court’s memebrs “circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work, and that “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”