• Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023


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What Happens Next After the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade Leaked Draft Decision?

The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, heralding a seismic shift in American politics and law, has left many Americans wondering what comes next.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Supreme Court confirmed that the draft opinion is authentic, but said that “it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

The court’s final decision is not expected for another month or more. While overturning Roe v. Wade would constitute a dramatic shift in American politics and law, the draft itself does not have any immediate legal ramifications.

During the drafting process, the court’s opinion can be revised more than a dozen times, according to the court. In some cases, justices might switch their votes after reading the draft opinion and dissents, according to the court’s procedures. No dissents have been made public.

“No opinion is considered the official opinion of the Court until it is delivered in open court (or at least made available to the public),” the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says about Supreme Court procedures.

If a final decision does overturn Roe v. Wade, it would not outlaw abortion, but rather would leave it to individual states to determine the procedure’s legality. More than 20 states are likely to ban or substantially restrict access to abortion, although some predictions differ.

In a statement on Tuesday, President Biden said that if the court did overturn Roe v. Wade, “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

While the nation awaits a final decision from the Supreme Court, some lawmakers could try to codify the principles of Roe into federal law. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, pledged on Tuesday to hold a vote on abortion rights legislation. This vow appeared to be mostly symbolic, since he does not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

In other cases, states could attempt to protect abortion access. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday night proposed an amendment to the state constitution solidifying abortion rights that would go to voters in November.