The disclosure of the content of a Supreme Court draft, which reflects the majority inclination of its judges to overthrow the precedent that guarantees the right to abortion in the United States, has generated a colossal social, political and judicial earthquake throughout the country, as well as an urgent reaction from its president, Joe Biden.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe It has had the weight of the law for almost fifty years, and the basic fairness and stability of our legal system demand that it not be annulled,” Biden said in a statement made public this morning, while dozens of people demonstrated at the gates of the Supreme Court in Washington and just 12 hours after the web Politico will drop the bomb with exclusive information whose consequences are still difficult to gauge.
Con Roe, the American president refers to Roe against Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision that made access to abortion a constitutional right in 1973. The high court now has in its hands to repeal that precedent, in a decision that will be known at the end of June or beginning of July.
What has transpired is the draft of the majority opinion of five of the conservative members of the court, written by Judge Samuel Alito, in which they leave no room for interpretation: “His motivation was exceptionally weak and that decision has had detrimental consequences. Far from achieving a national consensus on the issue of abortion, Roe and Casey stirred up the debate and deepened the division”, can be read in the text.
Biden begins his statement with the cautions that recent events invite: “We do not know if this draft is genuine or if it reflects the final decision of the Court.”
It’s unlikely, but it could be that the opinion of those five judges (in addition to Alito, they sign Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett Clarence Thomas) have changed since the time it was written in February.
There could also be the option of changing between now and the end of the legislative year, when the final ruling is expected.
There is no memory of such a leak in the history of the high court, and that has reopened the debate on the excessive politicization of the institution, which has an unprecedented conservative super majority since the 1930s. Seven out of ten Americans, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, prefer not to lie down Roe.
The president’s statement recalls that his “Administration argued forcefully before the Supreme Court in defense of Roe against Wade,” because it is based on “a long line of precedent that recognizes the ‘Fourteenth Amendment concept of personal liberty’ against government interference in intensely personal decisions.”
That amendment is the one that guarantees the right to privacy, and the one that served to uphold the 1973 ruling.
The latest wave of restrictive laws, enacted in Republican states, more than twenty across the country, from Texas to Oklahoma, pushed the White House to prepare a response “to the ongoing attack on abortion and reproductive rights.” For this reason, Biden warns: “We will be ready when any ruling is issued.”
The case that has taken the debate to the Supreme Court has its origin in an appeal to a law of the State of Mississippi that advanced the border for a legal and safe intervention of the current 23 weeks, when, according to Roe, the viability of the fetus arrived, within 15 weeks.
The court could have chosen to simply stay with that change, but seems inclined to strike down entirely Roewhich would leave the decision on the reproductive rights of American women in the hands of the States.
“If the Court strikes down Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect women’s right to choose. And it will fall to the voters to elect the officials in favor of the right to decide this November”, concludes Biden, referring to the next mid-term legislative elections, in which control of the Senate and the House of Representatives is settled.
“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to approve and turn into law.”