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1/ The Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. While the draft could change before it’s finalized, the document was circulated among the justices in February and at least five justices – including all of three of Trump’s nominees – voted to overturn Roe, which established a constitutional right to an abortion 49 years ago. Alito writes that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” adding that “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The Alito draft is related to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which challenges a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted with Alito after hearing oral arguments in December, while Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are working on one or more dissents. It’s unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an opinion or draft his own, but he is reportedly willing to uphold the Mississippi law. A final opinion is expected later this Spring or early summer, and if the draft opinion is adopted, the court would let individual states determine abortion’s legality. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)
📌 Day 468: Antiabortion groups and some Republican lawmakers have started meeting about potential federal legislation to outlaw abortion after six weeks of pregnancy if the Supreme Court weakens or overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. While a nationwide abortion ban would be extraordinarily difficult to pass given the need for 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, antiabortion advocates have spoken with 10 possible Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, about a national strategy. Most of them reportedly said they’d be supportive of a national ban and would make the policy a centerpiece of a presidential campaign. (Washington Post)
10 key passages from Alito’s draft opinion. (Politico)
What would the end of Roe v. Wade mean? Key questions and answers. (New York Times)
How rare is a Supreme Court breach? Very rare. (Politico)
2/ Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade but said the document is not final. Roberts said he has directed the Supreme Court marshal to investigate the leak, calling the episode “a singular and egregious breach of trust.” Roberts added: “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.” Susan Collins, meanwhile, called the draft opinion “completely inconsistent” with what Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch told her during their private conversations as Supreme Court nominees. In 2018, Collins cast the vote pivotal in Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. At the time, Collins said Kavanaugh assured her Roe v. Wade was “settled law.” (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / NPR / NBC News / ABC News / The Hill)
3/ 26 states have laws aiming to limit abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned or weakened, including 9 with pre-Roe bans, and 13 states with “trigger bans” in place, meaning abortion will be banned if Roe is overturned. By contrast, 16 states and the District of Columbia have policies that explicitly protect the right to abortion. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, meanwhile, said she would immediately call for a special session to outlaw abortion in her state, while in Arkansas, Georgia, and Indiana Republican lawmakers have demanded special sessions to pass legislation limiting or eliminating abortion rights following the Supreme Court decision. And Missouri’s attorney general said he’s prepared to “immediately” ban abortion in the state if Roe is overturned. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ Biden blasted the “radical” Supreme Court draft opinion, saying other rights, including same-sex marriage and access to birth control, are in question if the leaked document becomes the decision of the court. “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” Biden said, adding “the rationale used” in the draft opinion “would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question.” Biden said his administration “will be ready when any ruling is issued,” but warned that if the Supreme Court “does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.” (Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / CNBC / Axios / The Hill / Washington Post)
5/ Chuck Schumer said the Senate will vote to codify the right to abortion into federal law, saying this is “not an abstract exercise, this is as urgent and real as it gets […] Every American is going to see which side every senator stands.” Any such vote, however, would largely be symbolic as Democrats lack the 60-vote supermajority needed to pass Roe legislation in the Senate. Democrats also lack the support to eliminate the filibuster rules thanks to Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who have rejected efforts to drop or alter the filibuster. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, called on Democrats to primary Sinema when she is up for re-election in 2024, because of her resistance to ending the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to protect abortion rights. In February, Manchin voted with Republicans to filibuster a House-passed bill that would codify Roe. The vote was 46-48. Earlier, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, said “The Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans.” They added: “The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Bloomberg / NPR / CNBC / Axios / ABC News / Politico)
6/ Republicans celebrated the Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade with calls for the FBI to investigate and pursue criminal charges against those responsible for the leak. Mitch McConnell called the leak “an effort by someone on the inside to discredit the institution” and that “the Department of Justice must pursue criminal charges if applicable.” Mitt Romney called the “breach” of the court’s process “an appalling affront against a critical institution and should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished,” while Ted Cruz said the leak was a “breach of trust” being used to intimidate the high court. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently signed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, suggested that the leak was a “judicial insurrection” intended “to whip up a lot of the public to try and make [the ruling] very political, potentially try to bully [the justices] into changing one of their positions.” Charles Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, tweeted: “The leak was a monumental breach of trust w/in our judicial system. The independent judiciary must remain free from political intimidation & outside influence.” (Politico / New York Times / The Hill / Fox News)
poll/ 54% of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade, compared with 28% who say the ruling should be overturned. 57% of Americans oppose their state banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and 58% oppose limiting abortion to the first six weeks of pregnancy. (ABC News / Washington Post)
The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates half a percentage point (50 basis points) Wednesday and again in June. In a survey of economists, fund managers, and strategists, 57% said the Fed’s effort to bring down inflation to 2% will create a recession, while 33% said it wouldn’t, and 10% weren’t sure. (CNBC)
Ivanka Trump testified to Jan. 6 committee about what happened inside the White House, as well as Trump’s state of mind during the attack on the Capitol. Ivanka did not invoke the Fifth Amendment or claim privilege during her interview. (CNN)
poll/ 52% of Americans say Trump should be charged with a crime for his role urging supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, while 42% say he should not be charged. (Washington Post)
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