Legal experts weigh in on leaked draft opinion against abortion

NOW: Legal experts weigh in on leaked draft opinion against abortion

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “We are not sure where this opinion came from,” says Jody Madeira, Professor of Law at Indiana University. “We have never had a full draft leaked in the history of the Supreme Court. We have never had a leaked outcome in the last 20 years really the latest advance leak is 1986, and some might say the Supreme Court is really seen as a last leak proof institution.”

For Indiana University Professor of Law, Jody Madeira and her colleagues, the Supreme Court’s draft opinion against abortion was not a surprise.

“None of us are surprised by the outcome, but the manner which is came out , the leak and how the far the opinion goes.”

Rather, it was a surprise how it went public and just how much it would change. Monday night, Politico, an online news website, leaked a draft opinion of a court decision that if published would overturn the 1973 case, Roe v. Wade, a case that legalize abortion nationwide.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would mean there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Therefore, this would put the legal decision in the hands of each individual state. But for many legal experts, the concern also lies in the leak.

“Really the only ones who have access to these documents are staff members, clerks, and justices.”

Madeira noting that this was likely an internal move.

“Not that any of this matter given the ultimate news about what has come out, but it does further the idea that the court is a political institution,” says Madeira. “This leak is a strategic move in the culture wars.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the validity of the released documents and noted that there will be an investigation on the source of the leak. Again, no decision has been final, as the papers were not to be published until the end of June. The outcome could still change.

“Yes, this is not the final opinion and it can change, the outcome can change,” says Madeira. “It would be very embarrassing for the court; it is very embarrassing for the court anyways, but yes it can change.”

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