Friday, May 24, 2024

Last year, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the leaked draft of the ruling had been anticipated by the press, indicating the outcome. However, the story behind the decision is incomplete. The New York Times has uncovered the hidden narrative behind this significant change in the law, drawing on internal documents, contemporaneous notes, and interviews with court insiders who had real-time knowledge of the events.

The article provides a rare inside look at the unraveling of a constitutional right, including excerpts from the justices’ internal messages to one another. The content reveals internal communication about court proceedings and decisions about cases related to abortion, displaying the justices’ differing opinions and attempts for consensus.

Here are five takeaways.

Justice Barrett initially supported taking up the case but later changed her mind and voted against it, even though a minority of the court approved it. The reasoning behind the decisions and the factors that influenced them are revealed.

The move of delaying the announcement of the decision gave the impression that the justices were still debating, despite already taking the decision, allowing public discourse around the matter.

The article details the efforts of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Stephen G. Breyer to persuade their colleagues to withdraw support for hearing the case, in an attempt to reach a compromise on the matter.

The leak of Justice Alito’s majority opinion hampered the quest for compromise, influencing the decision-making process and diminishing the prospects of reaching a middle ground.

The article discusses how certain court traditions, including the practice of reading dissents aloud from the bench, came under threat and the controversies surrounding their continuation.

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