Legal experts and Supreme Court watchers have suggested over the past week the extremist draft opinion striking down Roe v. Wade that was leaked and published by Politico last week would be smoothed down, the harshness massaged, and the tone changed to make the document more palatable.
That does not seem to be the intention of its author, Justice Samuel Alito, who has been disparaged and even mocked for basing his argument on a “17th-century jurist who supported marital rape and had women executed,” as Vanity Fair reported.
In a follow-up report Tuesday, Politico reveals the leaked opinion is dated February because there has not been another version circulated among the justices.
The 98-page draft opinion, read by many across the country appears, at least right now, to be the actual majority opinion the Court will inflict on the nation in the coming weeks.
Politico reports that “there’s no sign that the court is changing course from issuing that ruling by the end of June,” and “none of the conservative justices who initially sided with Alito have to date switched their votes. No dissenting draft opinions have circulated from any justice, including the three liberals.”
The only hope, slim as it is, seems to be a move by Chief Justice John Roberts to throw a wrench into his conservative justices’ plan.
“Roberts could still try to lobby one of the five Republican-appointed justices to withdraw their support from Alito and sign onto a more centrist opinion that doesn’t formally overturn Roe, but instead upholds Mississippi’s 15-week cut off for performing most abortions,” Politico says. “Such a move would deprive Alito of a majority and could maintain some federal guarantee of abortion rights, although precisely what regulations states could impose on abortion under such a scenario remains murky.”