Progressive advocacy groups renewed calls to pack the Supreme Court this week after a leak of a draft opinion was published Monday night, suggesting the high court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.
Alliance for Justice argued the way to protect abortion rights is to expand the high court by adding Democratic-appointed justices.
“We must expand the Court to put a check on this increasingly lawless and hyper-partisan conservative majority. We must fill every judicial vacancy by the end of this year. Progressives must focus our attention on state courts, which will now be a critical frontline in the fight to protect abortion rights,” said Rakim H.D. Brooks, president of AFJ.
“There are paths to restoring our rights, but we must recognize that they cannot be accomplished through business as usual. Conservatives spent decades laying the groundwork for this outcome, and our response must be commensurate to meet this moment,” he added.
Demand Justice, another liberal advocacy group, took to Twitter demanding Democrats expand the court.
Progressives have been calling to pack the bench for years after former President Donald Trump appointed three justices, giving conservatives a 6 to 3 majority on the court.
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But conservative legal scholars claim the controversial leak was the left’s way of attempting to intimidate the justice to change their votes.
“It’s a new low in efforts to intimidate the justices and attacks on the court,” said Carrie Severino, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.
Court watchers were aghast Monday night when news broke that a draft opinion indicates the high court would overrule the 1973 Roe decision, which gave women a national right to an abortion until fetal viability.
It is the first time a full draft opinion has been leaked in the Supreme Court‘s 233 year history, according to former law clerks.
In the 98-page draft opinion obtained by Politico, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said abortion should return to the state legislatures.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion,” he wrote. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.
“It’s time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” reads the opinion, dated from February.
An official ruling in the case is expected by the end of June.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion on Tuesday, but said it is not a final ruling.
The court is weighing a Mississippi ban on abortion at 15 weeks in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Mississippi officials argue that Roe should be overturned because it’s outdated. The state contends the viability standard set out in Roe is unclear, and Mississippi has an interest in banning abortions after 15 weeks to protect women’s health and that of unborn children.
The legal battle was brought by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic, and a doctor who provides abortions. According to court papers, the clinic provides abortions up to 16 weeks of gestation.
They challenged the state’s Gestational Age Act, enacted in 2018. The law bans abortions after 15 weeks unless there is a medical emergency or severe abnormality within the fetus.
The abortion providers told the court in their filing that the state’s interest in the woman’s health and children doesn’t begin until viability, occurs “months” after the 15-week marker set in the law.