(WFXR) — Lawmakers from across the Commonwealth have shared their thoughts after Politico published a draft of a majority opinion from the Supreme Court — which was authenticated by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. — about overturning the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects the federal right to abortion.
According to The Hill, the 67-page draft opinion, which was reportedly drafted in February, concludes that Roe and the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey are not grounded in the Constitution.
President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday, May 3 that a woman’s right to have an abortion is “fundamental.” He also acknowledged that it’s unclear whether the leaked draft represents the court’s final decision.
Shortly after Biden’s announcement, WFXR News received the following statement from the Supreme Court’s Office of Public Information about the authenticity of the draft opinion:
Yesterday, a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., provided the following statement:
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.
We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. 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.
I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”
The Hill reports that the Supreme Court justices could change their votes up until a final opinion is publicly released, which is expected at some point in the next two months.
The following Virginia lawmakers posted statements about the reports of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion:
Gov. Glenn Youngkin:
I am in utter disbelief that the sacred confidentiality of the Supreme Court would be violated in this manner. Sadly, this leak was done in order to cause chaos and to put pressure on justices and elected officials. It’s premature to speculate on what the Supreme Court’s decision will be; however, we learned from listening to Virginians over the last year that we have much common ground on this issue. I am pro-life, and I have been very clear about that since the day I launched my campaign. While we wait for the final June decision, we will be focused on lowering taxes for Virginians, funding education and law enforcement because we need to get a budget passed.Statement released at 10:50 a.m. on May 3, 2022 by Gov. Glenn Youngkin
U.S. Tim Kaine:
The draft opinion shows why the Senate GOP denied Merrick Garland a hearing and rushed Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. 2 stolen seats = Taking away women’s rights. It’s been the goal all along.Tweet posted at 7:33 a.m. on May 3. 2022 by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine
Facebook at 10:32 a.m. on May 3, 2022 by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner:
I’m outraged by the reported leaked SCOTUS decision overturning Roe. I believe abortion care is health care, and I’ll keep fighting for that in the Senate.Tweet posted at 8:30 a.m. on May 3, 2022 by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner
U.S. Rep. Bob Good:
The infamous R v. W decision that “found” a constitutional right to abortion out of thin air is apparently, finally, mercifully, being rectified.One of several tweets posted between 7:04 and 7:11 a.m. on May 3, 2022 by U.S. Rep. Bob Good
U.S. Rep. Ben Cline:
The judicial process must be non-political and always be rooted in the letter of the law. This leak undermines the confidence the American people have in the Supreme Court, it erodes the trust the Justices have in one another, and it hurts the confidentiality necessary for the Court to discuss cases before them. I will always seek to protect the sanctity of life, and I hope and pray that the Supreme Court will do the same when it rules on this case later this year.Statement released on May 3, 2022 by U.S. Rep. Ben Cline
Virginia House Democrats:
Let’s be clear – should this draft opinion become final, people will die. Those people will be predominantly women of color and low-income women, women who cannot afford to skirt the law by traveling to another state. Ending the right to legal abortion doesn’t stop abortions from happening, it just makes them less safe by returning them to the back alleys of our past. As more and more nations around the world codify the legal right to abortion, this country is poised to take a step backward, to remove a person’s right to bodily autonomy. With nearly 50 years of precedent being wiped away in one opinion, I hesitate to think which will be next to fall.
Never has it been more important for states to step up and protect the rights that the federal government fails to uphold. Be assured that we will do everything in its power to stop any attempt by Governor Youngkin or Republican legislators to undermine reproductive rights in Virginia. We have stood up to transvaginal ultrasounds, we have stood up to TRAP laws, and we have fought back attempts to treat women as second class citizens; Virginia will not backslide, not on our watch.Statement released at 10:56 p.m. on May 2, 2022 by Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring
This is a developing story.