An early draft of a Supreme Court vote in a major abortion case was leaked to the press this week. The 98-page draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, shows that the court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 decision outlining a person’s right to abortion before fetal viability.
News of the leak spread quickly, prompting an immediate response from the White House and Chief Justice John Roberts, who vowed to launch a swift investigation into the leak. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here,” Roberts said in a statement. The leak, first provided to the publication POLITICO, also prompted protests outside of the Supreme Court Monday evening into Tuesday. Writing in the opinion, which on its face is a complete repudiation of Roe, Alito says “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” Roe’s central holding, which was reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, relied on a “right to privacy” concept in lieu of explicit reference to abortion in the text of the Constitution.