WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court may be be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. He ordered an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.”
In the high court’s first public comment since the draft was published late Tuesday, Roberts said “Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
In a statement, he said, “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed.”
He added: “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”
If the U.S. Supreme Court follows through on overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, it would immediately split the country into states with abortion access and those that outlaw it.
Some states had already been preparing for the potential that the high court could weaken or overturn Roe, but the bombshell leak of the draft opinion appeared to accelerate that drive Tuesday, setting the country on course for an even more jumbled landscape of abortion rights even before the court actually issues its ruling.
Almost immediately after Politico released the draft Monday night, Republicans who had fostered a decades-long push to end abortion rights cheered the prospect while Democrats vowed to fight the possible overturning of a constitutional right that has been in place for nearly a half-century.