Earlier, Politico published a draft opinion allegedly distributed among Supreme Court justices that implies a majority of them supported overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the US.
It remains unclear, however, whether the draft has undergone any changes since being circulated in February.
Dozens of people gathered outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, late Monday to protest after a report leaked an alleged draft of a majority opinion in which some justices agreed the landmark Roe v Wade decision was “egregiously wrong.”
According to estimates by local reporters and eyewitnesses, there are currently over 300 people on the square, with some of them carrying signs and candles. Footage of the crowd shows them standing behind a fence that had been installed shortly after the Politico story broke the airwaves.
According to a DC Examiner reporter, people began to gather around 10 p.m. local time, and the general atmosphere among those near the federal building was “extremely somber and almost silent.”
As more people gathered in front of the building, the protesters allegedly began to chant some slogans, in particular “We will not go back,” per the reports.
More showing up, I would estimate about 300 here now. Chants are getting louder. “We will not go back” pic.twitter.com/qYzH70BVRb— Abigail Adcox (@abigailadcox) May 3, 2022
Meanwhile, some social media users highlighted that the development marked a first for the federal bench as never before in recent history has a drafted opinion been released to the public.
“Y’all are freaking out over Roe being overturned,” said one user. “I’m freaking out that for the first time in history a draft opinion of the court was leaked. This is dangerous territory and seriously damages trust on the court.”
According to Politico, it is extremely unusual for a draft opinion in a Supreme Court case to be made public. Before Monday’s publication of a draft ruling in the Mississippi abortion rights case, Supreme Court historians, former law clerks, and other court watchers reportedly told the outlet they could not recall a previous such occasion.
The news organization published a “First Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s restrictions on abortion after 15 weeks.
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the case, and opinions and even the votes of justices have been known to shift throughout the drafting process.
The court is likely to make a decision on the matter before the end of its term, which is projected to be in late June or early July, per experts in the media.
Even before the court’s decision, a legislative drive to restrict abortion is underway in some Republican-led states, the most recent of which is Oklahoma.
Low-income women, according to critics of the move, will bear a disproportionate share of the regulatory measures as a result.
Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s conservative majority, has reportedly signed the draft.