Please, don’t fill the opinion section with abortion articles, not just yet


Courtesy/The New York Times

Demonstrations broke out in front of the Supreme Court hours after the draft leak

In a shocking, never-before-seen leak from the Supreme Court, an early opinion regarding Roe v. Wade has come to light. The draft, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito, describes the court’s decision to allow the question of abortion to be left up to the state legislatures. However, this is only a preliminary draft, and the finalized decision is not expected to be released for at least another month. A lot can change in the coming months both politically and ideologically. We have vested our highest interpretation of the law in nine human individuals, who indeed have the capacity to be fickle. Yet, this preliminary draft does seem to show the way the court leans.

So, some may be asking, is Roe v. Wade overturned? The short answer, pending the official ruling of the court, is yes. The long answer is, you guessed it, quite a bit more complicated. The Supreme Court has taken up a position of legal referee rather than play caller. The Roe v. Wade decision upended abortion legislation across the nation, and became just about as devisive as any political issue can be in the United States (see past issues of the Crier for more details). In this new decision, the court aims to remove itself from the legislative process. Overturning Roe v. Wade will not suddenly make abortions illegal on the national level, while the inverse happened when the original decision was released. Instead, the court has opted to allow each state to determine the legality of abortions for itself. In a refreshing change of tune for Washington D.C. the Supreme Court has taken its hand out of politics, and may let the people decide what is best for themselves.

This preliminary decision, however, seems to have been approved by the justices on very thin margins. Justices Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett voted in favor of the opinion. Justices Bryer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented, and it is still unclear how Chief Justice Roberts plans to vote on the issue. For this decision then, the best case scenario is a wobbly 6-3 vote, while the worst would be an incredibly weak 5-4 majority. This is all, of course, assuming no justices change sides prior to the official ruling. If the decision comes down to a 5-4 split, it would not be out of the question for pro-choice politicians to overturn this latest decision in the near future. It would only take the loss of one conservative seat in the next two years of the Biden administration to suddenly make this debate 5-4 against, so I am sure conservative justices are battening down the hatches at this point.

Either way, the issue of abortion will continue to be devisive. If Roe v. Wade is upheld, pro-life citizens will continue their advocacy for the sanctity of human life. If the case is overturned, pro-choice citizens will continue to fight for the self-determining rights of women. Even in what is the best case scenario, that the court passes this decision to leave the debate up to the states, that merely means the fight will be taken off of the steps of the Supreme Court and onto the streets of 50 separate state capitols.

All of this is entirely speculation though. The Supreme Court has not delivered its official decision yet, and until that time, there is not much to be said for either the pro-choice or pro-life sides of the debate. While advocacy is still important for both groups both before and after the decision is handed down, there is not much else to be said until the ungreased wheels of the federal court finally deliver us an opinion. At that time, I know there will be yet more debates on this issue, but until then I will quote one of the best cinematic masterpieces of our age, “Hold… hold… hold……hold!” (William Wallace, Braveheart, 1995).