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‘Opinion Suffused with Contempt and Rage’

May 03, 2022

Of the leaked document, Prof. Wolff said that Justice Alito “has crafted an opinion that disregards the lives of women and girls altogether.”

According to a leaked draft published by Politico, the Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights.

Tobias Barrington Wolff, Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law and Deputy Dean of Equity & Inclusion at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, has released the following statement:

The fact that this draft opinion was leaked to the Press – an unprecedented breach, to my knowledge – is an assault on the institutional legitimacy of the Court, a naked political act that disregards the rule of law and the integrity of the Court’s decision-making process. We should not have this draft in front of us. But we do, and if the final opinion looks substantially like this draft, it is a grave moment in our constitutional history. Justice Alito has crafted an opinion suffused with contempt and rage that demeans both jurists and ordinary people who believe that the Constitution protects the right of women and girls to control their own reproductive lives. Indeed, he has crafted an opinion that disregards the lives of women and girls altogether. The day-to-day reality of women and girls makes no appearance in this angry disquisition. Instead, Justice Alito proclaims Roe v. Wade to be as egregious and damaging as Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court decision that licensed racial apartheid in the United States for more than half a century.

There are serious debates to have about the constitutional foundations of Roe v. Wade. This draft opinion does not engage those debates in a mature fashion. It simply takes away a constitutional right that women and girls have relied on for generations, essentially telling them that they should be ashamed of themselves for believing they possessed that right in the first place.

Read more Penn Carey Law reactions to the leaked SCOTUS opinion.