On Tuesday afternoon, the United States Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
The nearly 100-page document suggests five Justices side with Mississippi in its case, challenging the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
As investigators work to find the leak, protests are underway across the nation. Many are questioning how a breach of trust like this could happen and how it will impact abortion laws at home.
“I was shocked, I was saddened and angry. It’s an absolute national disgrace,” Tory Lucas says. “It’s a despicable act that violates the most basic judiciary trust that people within the judiciary have. It really is more disgusting than I could even tell you.”
Lucas is a professor of law at Liberty University in Lynchburg.
He clerked for two federal appellate judges and says no draft decision in the modern history of the court has been released while a case was still pending.
“There’s a political pressure that could take place,” he says. “Congress could actually take away the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court while this case is pending. That would be historic. Congress could try to pack the court, put more Justices on the court.”
While unprecedented, Lucas says the leak will not change how the court operates.
He adds the only purpose was to bring political pressure, and it’s doing just that.
“To see it on paper is extremely overwhelming and distressing for anyone who supports access to safe and legal abortion,” Senior Director of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Alison Kiser says.
If the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, individual states could decide whether to ban or restrict abortion.
About half have already indicated they would.
“None of this should have ever been public. We don’t know how the final vote is going to go,” Lucas adds. “We don’t know what the decisions are going to look like. Anything now is premature.”
The final opinion is expected in late June or early July.