Biden warns court about ‘radical’ plan to scrap abortion law

Joe Biden warned the US Supreme Court against a “radical” move to overturn abortion rights across the United States.

The US president said an apparently explosive court decision could also have implications for other issues, including same-sex marriage.

He urged Democratic voters to flood the polls in the November midterm elections, so the party can try to pass a law in Congress protecting abortion rights.

Biden’s attempt to put pressure on the US Supreme Court came after a leaked draft majority opinion suggested he was poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. Republicans accused the leaker and Democrats of try to “intimidate”
to court to change his mind before the decision was made.

Overturning Roe v Wade would be a seismic shift, leaving the abortion issue to individual states, about half of which would ban it. The move would also affect the November election and the 2024 presidential election.

Polls show that a clear majority of Americans are against overturning the ruling.

Biden said: “If this decision stands, it’s really quite a radical decision. I hope there are not enough votes for it. [in the Supreme Court].

“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental. Roe has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years, and the basic fairness and stability of our law demand that it not be repealed.”

He added: “It would mean that any other decision related to the notion of privacy is called into question. It goes far beyond concerns about whether or not there is a right to choose.

“It goes to other basic rights, all decisions related to your private life, who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child. It is a fundamental change in American jurisprudence.”

The draft majority opinion of the nine-member court was leaked to Politico. It was an unprecedented event in the court’s 235-year history, and was compared to the leaking of the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War.

The draft was written by Judge Samuel Alito and dated February 10. “Roe was terribly wrong from the start. The inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions,” he wrote.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the document was “authentic” although it did not represent the “final position” of the court. He called the leak a “singular and egregious breach” of trust and announced an investigation.

Republicans suggested the leak was an attempt to “bully” the court into changing its mind. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said: “Last night’s shocking violation was an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court.

“This was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to intimidate federal judges and replace mob rule with the rule of law.”

He said there should be criminal charges against the culprit and that judges should “tune out the noise of bad faith” and “follow the facts.”

Mike Lee, a Republican senator, said, “As a former clerk of the Supreme Court, I can tell you that there are very few people in the entire building who had access to the opinion.”

Suspicion fell on employees who worked for the three Democratic-appointed judges who dissented from the opinion.

Brian Fallon, Hillary Clinton’s press secretary in 2016, said, “Is it a brave employee to take this unprecedented step of leaking a draft opinion to warn the country of what is coming, in a last-ditch Hail Mary attempt to see if Could the public response cause the court to reconsider?

Protective barriers were erected as protesters descended onto the pitch. Anti-abortion activists chanted, “Roe v Wade has got to go,” while pro-abortion activist groups chanted, “Do something, Democrats.”

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator, was on the verge of tears in front of Congress. She said: “Republicans have been working for this day for decades. They have accomplished something that most Americans don’t want.”

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