The 6-3 decision in Dobbs v.s. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday followed the early May leak of a draft opinion indicating which way the justices would rule. That leak prompted protesting across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C. as well as dozens of attacks and vandalism of pro-life organizations, centers, and churches.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and a subsequent case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe, both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states.
Crowd is growing outside SCOTUS. Pro abortion protestors chant “illegitimate! Illegitimate!” pic.twitter.com/1O7S2BASRs
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) June 24, 2022
“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 wrote in his majority opinion, which was strikingly similar to the earlier leaked draft. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote a concurring opinion in Dobbs v.s. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law greatly restricting the federal right to abortion, said the ruling did not need to go as far as overturning Roe v. Wade.
“The Court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases,” Roberts wrote. “A narrower decision rejecting the misguided viability line would be markedly less unsettling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case.”
The leaked draft, substantially the same as Friday’s decision, had already galvanized pro- and anti-abortion foes outside the Supreme Court building and even the homes of conservative justices.
Hundreds of people gathered at the court Friday, carrying signs and shouting slogans. Police cordoned off the groups, hoping to avoid violence in the wake of the polarizing decision.
The decision leaves it to states to impose restrictions on abortion. Several are expected to move closer to outright bans, while liberal states are expected to retain or even expand protections for abortion.
Alito was joined by the Supreme Court’s other conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts. All three liberal judges – Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonya Sotomayor – dissented.
The Supreme Court began arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in December after the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi won lawsuits challenging the state’s 15-week abortion ban.
The district court granted the abortion clinic a temporary restraining order and then enjoined the state from enforcing the 15-week abortion ban, ruling that Mississippi did not prove an unborn baby is viable at 15 weeks, arguing based on the precedent set by Roe that the state could not ban abortion before viability.
What’s next? I asked this protestor.
“We’re going to be in these streets all day and all night. We need to turn these tears into anger.” pic.twitter.com/FyuNDzHW7z
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) June 24, 2022
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court’s decision, leading Mississippi to petition the Supreme Court. In the state’s brief to the Court, the petitioners acknowledged the lower courts were required to strike down the 15-week abortion ban and pled with the court to review the precedent set by Roe and Casey. Their brief did not mince words: “Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong.” It was a direct challenge to the precedent set by the majority in the 1973 case.
In its petition to the nation’s highest court, Mississippi questioned whether the Supreme Court’s precedents set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were constitutional, arguing, “The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.”
In the end, the high court agreed.
On June 8, police arrested 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske in the Washington suburb of Chevy Case, Maryland. A DOJ affidavit details how Roske allegedly traveled to Kavanaugh’s home armed with weapons and burglary tools with the intent to kill the justice and prevent him from ruling on Second Amendment and abortion cases.
Roske has been charged with attempted murder of a federal judge, the Department of Justice confirmed to The Daily Wire.
The California man had found Kavanaugh’s address online, an FBI affidavit said (pro-abortion advocates with a group called Ruth Sent Us had posted the address online, sparking heavy criticism from those who feared for the justices’ safety).
He told authorities that he was upset about the “leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision regarding the right to abortion as well as the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas,” indicating that “he believed the Justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws.”
“Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the Internet,” the affidavit said. “Roske further indicated that he had purchased the Glock pistol and other items for the purpose of breaking into the Justice’s residence and killing the Justice as well as himself.”
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.
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