Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Tuesday said the Supreme Court ought to immediately release its final decision on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban after a draft opinion for the case that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media.
Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed that a draft court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization published by Politico Monday is authentic. The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, offers a full-throated rejection of abortion rights precedents established in the court’s 1973 Roe decision and a subsequent 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Roberts blasted the leak as a “betrayal” and has ordered an investigation to determine its source.
Lee, a former clerk for Alito, said the leak is “stunning” in an interview with BlazeTV host Glenn Beck Tuesday.
“As a former law clerk, I clerked for Justice Alito. I can tell you, law clerks are expected to keep utmost confidentiality and decorum. It’s a respectul, collegial, and even friendly work environment. And I can’t imagine the damage this leak will bring the atmosphere and the operation of the court,” Lee said.
Lee told Beck that as a member of the legislative branch, it was not his place to tell another branch of government what to do. But he shared his opinion that the Supreme Court should issue the final decision on Dobbs “immediately.”
“I still don’t know who leaked this and what their motives are,” Lee said. “Maybe they wanted to leak it so as to make it difficult for justices planning on signing it.”
He suggested that the court could release an unsigned order announcing the result of the case with an opinion to follow, to dissuade future attempts to threaten, intimidate, or harass justices into changing how they vote on controversial cases.
“I think it would be good for the court to signal that this is done,” Lee said.
Like many other pro-life conservatives, the Utah lawmaker welcomed the court’s expected decision overturning Roe.
“There’s nothing in this decision making abortion unlawful. That is a fallacy. A fallacy pushed by the left to scare people. What this is saying is that decisions regarding abortion will be made by lawmakers. Primarily, almost exclusively, at the state level. Not at the federal level,” he told Beck.
“This opinion, as drafted — I hope and pray this is in fact an opinion of the court, as it purports to be — because as written, it uproots Roe and Casey, root and branch. It doesn’t leave anything left of them. It simply makes the case that these are decisions for state lawmakers. Not decisions for federal judges.”