as one might expect the leak of an abortion rights document authored by Judge Samuel Alito had the effect of a real bomb. The question is delicate and never, since Roe v. Wade in 1973, the pro-life movement had never been closer to its ultimate goal.
If before the Trump presidency we multiplied attempts to restrict access to abortion, this time we are attacking the law head-on.
The pro-choice movement is rightly concerned, and many Western countries are closely monitoring the situation. Beyond these legitimate concerns, should we consider that the draft judgment written by Alito confirms the end of abortion legalization?
A first draft
The document obtained from the POLITICO website indicates that it is a first draft. It is customary for several drafts to circulate among the nine judges before the final decision is made. These drafts can be modified in the course of the exchange and sharing of the arguments of the individual judges.
However, the draft will be followed by a first vote. We know that four other judges supported Judge Alito. If we’re not surprised that Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas are joining him, Neil Gorsuch and Anthony Kavanaugh had not shown their intent at the Senate hearings.
So we can assume that of the five judges who advocate ending abortion rights, three are “hardliners” and two more are still up for discussion. This potential openness is important when considering the identity of the sole dissenting conservative.
John Roberts is in the spotlight
Chief Justice Stevens is the dissenting voice among Conservatives. His interpretation of the founding text differs from that of the originalists. They interpret the Constitution according to the meaning it had in the context of its proclamation. Samuel Alito is very close to this interpretation.
When John Stevens’ voice does not carry more weight than that of his colleagues, he chairs the conferences by virtue of his position, sets the calendar of meetings and is always the first to speak. She can therefore lead the debates.
If I insist on Roberts’ role here, he has regularly shown concern about the image projected of the Supreme Court, which has allegedly become too political, too partisan. He is said to support recent restrictions in several states but would put his weight behind the negotiations to avoid overturning the 1973 ruling.
If the pro-choicers have any hope, their fate rests in the hands of Justice Roberts. The judges are still debating and the wording of the verdict, which is expected within two months, is subject to change. It is always possible, therefore, that we retain the right to abortion while acknowledging recent restrictions. That’s all abortion advocates can hope for.