GHENT, WV (WVNS) – A rough draft opinion leaked to the press on Monday, April 2, 2022, and it was revealed the Supreme Court of the United States voted on a case that would potentially strip federal protections to abortion rights.
The leaked draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, shows supreme court justices voted 5-4 to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, as well as the 1993 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision.
This would allow states to make their own laws regarding abortions.
Former Political Science Professor, and now Provost at Bluefield State College Ted Lewis, said regardless of how individuals feel about the decision, a leak from the supreme court, especially in such a landmark case, is extremely troubling.
“The supreme court is the one branch of government which should really operate, pretty much, in privacy, and not be subject to open deliberations,” said Lewis. “Any time there’s a leak in government it’s disturbing but especially when it’s coming from the judicial branch.”
Rough drafts are not final, and Justices are allowed to change their votes before the official decision is published, which could take months.
“A draft is just that. It is a draft, it’s not a final opinion,” said Lewis. “Many times when the justices are reaching their opinion they will pass drafts around from one member to another to review it and whether or not they want to change any language. So I think we’ll see some changes, I’m not sure if we’ll see significant changes about what we saw leaked.”
The leaking of a decision from the Supreme Court before it is officially announced is an unprecedented occurrence for the nation’s highest court.
Lewis said he expects the Supreme Court to increase their safeguards and increase security measures in controversial cases.
He also said because Supreme Court Justices work with teams on their opinions, it will be difficult to find out exactly who leaked the rough draft to the press.
“When the justices deliberate an opinion they work with their clerks, they work with their staffs. I’m not going to say it came from a Justice. It could have come from one of the clerks. It could have come from one of the staffs. It could have come from any number of sources,” said Lewis.