Leaked Ruling Sparks Outrage From Both Parties... For Two Very Different Reasons

Ryan Heshmati

May 27, 2022

On May 13th, Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward reported on a leaked opinion from the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the foundation for abortion rights in America, is poised to be overturned. The leaked ruling, which included Justice Samuel Alito writing, in regards to the famous 1973 ruling, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and deciding “…that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” sparked controversy immediately upon leaking. The Democratic, pro-choice, community felt that this preceded a systemic revokal of a basic right held by women. While, on the other hand, conservative, pro-life, politicians expressed serious concern about the origins of the leak. Vice President Harris (D) argued an overturning of Roe, “...will be a direct assault on freedom…” while Senator Lindsey Graham (R), without much comment on the ruling-to-be, felt the leak was an example of, “The radical assault on our institutions…” in recent years.

Liberal politicians and activists have, understandably, focused on the content of the text. After all, if Alito prevails, women in many states will immediately lose access to abortion care. CNN reports 13 states have passed abortion restrictions that will go into effect as soon as Roe is overturned. The implications of that scenario have led to massive demonstrations in front of the homes of Justice’s and in major metros. In Washington D.C., on May 14th,  thousands marched in “Bans Off Our Bodies” protests to voice opposition to Alito's opinion in the Dobbs leak.

Conservatives appear equally outraged, but not by Alito’s point of view, rather by the existence of a leak from the Court. Vanity Fair made a note of conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro’s bold assertion the leak was “an actual insurrection.” The argument is the violation of the Court’s privacy and practices should be the most concerning aspect of the situation. Since it is likely the leak came from an individual within the Court, it is almost like a betrayal of their family. For conservatives, the actual text is an incredible win after nearly fifty years of maneuvering in choices and nominations to get Roe overturned. On the other hand, its premature leak could energize the Democratic Party all the way to victory in the 2022 midterm elections. 

In an increasingly contentious political environment, the leaked Dobbs opinion has proven only to add gas to the fire. While, until the actual majority opinion is released by the Court, nothing is set in stone, it is likely Roe will be overturned. If that does happen, an intensification of the party division being seen today will almost certainly ensue. Ironically, Democrats and Republicans are so divided on the issue of abortion that it has led them to jointly express outrage regarding the Dobbs leak, for contrasting reasons.