Republicans in Congress on May 2 decried the leak of a Supreme Court opinion which would end legal protections for abortion, while Democrats called for the end of the Senate filibuster to preempt the court’s ruling.
Politico published a leaked opinion on May 2 authored by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The opinion, written in February, shows that Alito believed at the time that four other justices have voted in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the decades-old Supreme Court precedent which prohibited states from making laws restricting access to abortions.
The leak is likely unprecedented and represents a major breach of decorum and trust within the court, which is known for its cordial fellowship.
“The Supreme Court’s confidential deliberation process is sacred & protects it from political interference. This breach shows that radical Democrats are working even harder to intimidate & undermine the Court. It was always their plan. The justices cannot be swayed by this attack,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter.
“This leak is outrageous & dangerous. I pray & remain hopeful SCOTUS stays true to this potential decision, but this unprecedented, intentional leak is malicious & threatens the independence of our highest court,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) wrote on Twitter.
“This unprecedented leak of a draft ruling is an effort to overtly inject politics into the court itself. This individual should not be celebrated. They should be held accountable for their egregious breach. I am praying for the safety of all the Justices during these extraordinarily challenging and unprecedented times,” Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) wrote on Twitter.
Democrats, in the meantime, called for the end of the filibuster so that the Senate can pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would legalize abortion up to the point of birth nationwide.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), responding directly to Sanders on Twitter, wrote: “Let’s change the rules of the Senate to pass a federal law legalizing the killing of unborn children right up to the day of delivery.”
“This is utterly shameful but we can stop it. The Senate MUST end the filibuster and codify Roe,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) wrote on Twitter.
“There is no time left to wait. We need to abolish the filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade, ” Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.) wrote on Twitter.
A number of Democrats called for the passage of the act but did not mention ending the filibuster to do so: Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), and Rep. Don Breyer (D-Va.)
A small number of Democrats in Congress called for the expansion of the Supreme Court as a way to fight back.
“There is no other recourse. We must expand the court,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter.
“#ExpandTheCourt and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act!” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) wrote on Twitter.
Several Republican lawmakers celebrated the opinion, while Democrats lamented what the decision would bring about.
“I was a senior in high school when Roe v. Wade was decided,” Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) said in a statement. “I didn’t understand abortion then, and I don’t understand it now. Killing an innocent human life is simply incomprehensible to me. I am optimistic that these reports are true, and that the Supreme Court will do the right thing, finally overturning this travesty of a decision.”
“This draft is harrowing and blatantly ignores 50 years of settled law with a complete disregard to the fundamental rights of women. We can not go back to a time when women couldn’t make decisions about their own bodies,” Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) wrote on Twitter.