Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has canceled plans to make an appearance at an event on Thursday in the aftermath of the leaked majority draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade would be struck down.
Alito was set to appear at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judicial conference alongside a number of other judges from the New Orleans-based federal appeals court and the district courts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas but canceled for unknown reasons, Reuters reported.
Patricia McCabe, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court, confirmed to Reuters that Alito would not be in attendance on Thursday but did not give a reason as to why.
However, his no-show at the upcoming event comes just days after a 67-page opinion, along with a 31-page appendix, was published on May 2 by Politico regarding the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to abortion across the entire United States.
The leaked document—penned by Alito—stated that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and appeared to suggest that the landmark ruling would be overturned by the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote in the document, which is labeled as “the opinion of the Court” and dated Feb. 10.”It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
While a final decision has not yet been made, if it were to be overturned, the ruling would not ban abortions nationwide, but would instead allow each state legislature to decide.
Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft document’s authenticity shortly after it was leaked but stressed that it was not the court’s final decision or “the final position of any member” in the case.
The chief justice also directed the marshal of the Supreme Court to launch an investigation to determine the source of the leak to Politico while appearing to rule out “loyal” permanent employees.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” Roberts said in a statement on May 3.
“We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce—permanent employees and law clerks alike—intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law,” Roberts continued.
“Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”
Roberts added that the work of the Court will not be affected in any way.
However, the leaked documents have sparked controversy across the United States, prompting protests by pro-abortion activists and supporters, while Democrats, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, have spoken out against it.
Newsom on May 4 vowed to make his state a safe haven for women from other states who are seeking abortions if Roe v. Wade. is overturned. Several states, including Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas, have recently limited abortions.
Meanwhile, the identity of the leaker remains known only to Politico reporters, although many believe that a law clerk to a Supreme Court justice may be the person behind it.
Alito’s colleagues, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justice Clarence Thomas, were also set to speak separately at a similar conference in Atlanta, Georgia, for the 11th Circuit on Thursday and Friday, according to a program obtained by the outlet. It is unclear if they will still appear at that event or not.