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The recent leak of a draft opinion that signals the U.S. Supreme Court is ready to overturn its decision in Roe v. Wade is unprecedented in the Court’s modern history.

On Monday, Politico reported on a draft opinion it obtained “from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings,” reportedly written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

According to the draft, Alito comes to the “inescapable conclusion” that “a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft says. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

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Throughout the last half-century, journalists have speculated on Justices’ decisions ahead of time, and former Supreme Court clerks have provided insight into the deliberation process. However, never in the Court’s modern history has a draft decision been leaked while the case was still pending.


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