'heavily, heavily burdened'
Justice Samuel Alito's "sweeping and blunt draft majority opinion" striking down Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion remains the Supreme Court's "only circulated draft in the pending Mississippi abortion case," Politico reported Wednesday morning, "and none of the conservative justices who initially sided with Alito have to date switched their votes." Alito's leaked draft was written in February, but no dissenting draft opinions have circulated among the justices, stalling the normal give-and-take before opinions are settled, Politico says.
The nine justices will meet at the fenced-off Supreme Court on Thursday for the first time since Politico published Alito's draft, alerting Americans that the end of national abortion rights appears imminent, and "it's an understatement to say they are heavily, heavily burdened" by the internal leak and public response, a person close to the court's conservatives told Politico.
The justices have about seven weeks left in their term to finalize their opinions and votes on the Mississippi case, the most consequential of this term, Politico's Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza report. And the biggest remaining drama is what Chief Justice John Roberts will do: join the three liberals in dissent, join a watered-down version of Alito's opinion, write his own dissent, or try to poach one of the other five conservatives to a less sweeping assault on Roe.
That last option seems unlikely, conservative lawyer Curt Levey tells Politico. "There probably was a time when Roberts could've convinced one of the other conservative justices," but there seems "to be some bitterness among the other justices" stemming from Roberts' votes with the liberal win on several high-high profile cases, from ObamaCare to gay marriage. "Maybe this is the ultimate payback that in the most controversial of all cases and the biggest threat to the legitimacy of the court that he no longer has the persuasive power," Levey speculates. Read more at Poltiico.