Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said on Friday the High Court would not be ‘daunted’, briefly referring to the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion suggesting the judges are set to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 case granting women a national right to abortion.
Speaking at the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference, the bench’s top associate judge said society is getting addicted to wanting certain outcomes.
“We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into just giving you the results you want. The events earlier this week are a symptom of that,” Judge Thomas said, according to multiple reports.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. also spoke publicly about the leak earlier this week at the same conference.
“A leak of this magnitude is absolutely appalling,” Judge Roberts said. “If the person behind this thinks it will affect our work, that’s just stupid.”
Court watchers were appalled on Monday night when news broke that a draft opinion said the High Court would overturn the 1973 Roe decision, which granted women the nation’s right to abortion until viability fetal.
It’s the first time a full draft opinion has been leaked in the Supreme Court’s 233-year history, according to former jurists.
In the 98-page draft opinion obtained by Politico, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said abortion should be up to state legislatures.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion,” he wrote. “Roe was completely wrong from the start.”
“It is time to respect the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people,” reads the notice, dated February.
A formal decision in this case is expected by the end of June.
Court rates Mississippi abortion ban at 15 weeks in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Mississippi officials argue that Roe should be canceled because it is obsolete. The state argues that the viability standard established in Roe is unclear and that Mississippi has an interest in banning abortions after 15 weeks to protect the health of women and the health of unborn children.
The legal battle was fought by the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic, and a doctor who performs abortions. According to court documents, the clinic offers abortions up to 16 weeks gestation.
They challenged the state’s gestational age law, signed into law in 2018. The law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, except in cases of medical emergency or serious abnormality in the fetus.
Abortion providers told the court in their filing that the state’s interest in a woman’s health and children does not begin until viability, which comes “months” after the 15-week marker set by the law.