SCOTUS leak on abortion decision: impacts midterms and beyond
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses what the abortion ruling mean for US politics.
What does the abortion ruling mean for US politics?
I'm down here at the Supreme Court where word leaked out last night that the court has a draft opinion that likely has the majority of votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, which is the 50 year old precedent that prevents states from imposing draconian bans on abortion. Democratic states and Republican states have been preparing for this to happen. Republicans have been rushing as quick as they can to put in place new abortion bans, while Democrat states have been enshrining abortion protections in their law, in anticipation of this decision.
What's unusual is that the decision leaked out. It wasn't released through normal channels. So while everyone knows this is coming, it's not yet the law of the land. And there may still be changes to the draft opinion that could tweak it here or there, in order to attract probably the sixth vote of Chief Justice John Roberts.
Politically, the impacts of this are really unclear. It's a galvanizing issue on both sides. Republicans have a turnout advantage in the midterm elections. Democrats may be able to use this to their advantage, to get more pro-choice voters to show up. But on the other hand, that could cut the other way. Republicans could also galvanize their base by talking about the importance of enshrining this decision into law.
Legislatively, Democrats have almost no options. Their 50th senator, Joe Manchin from West Virginia says he's pro-life and you would require either changes to the filibuster rules or 60 votes overcome them, and that's simply not happening.
This is a major victory for the conservative movement who have worked since the time of Roe v. Wade to put enough judges on the court who had overturned the decision. And now you're going to see years and years of this being litigated at the state level, at the ballot box. And importantly, Democrats working to overturn the 6-3 conservative majority, and try to get a Democrat appointed majority back in the court, so they can undo this decision. This is likely to continue to be one of the defining issues in US politics for the foreseeable future.