Has the Leaked Roe Opinion Damaged the Supreme Court’s Legitimacy?

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An activist speaks outside the Supreme Court. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

According to a recent survey by Pew Research, the majority of Americans favor abortion rights. But in the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Samuel A. Alito writes “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work.” Public reaction, however, has been swift. Demonstrators decrying the opinion have gathered outside the Supreme Court, the homes of Supreme Court justices and in demonstrations across the country. In response to the draft opinion, some states have indicated they intend to introduce laws to ban and even criminalize abortion, while other states have begun drafting legislation to create safe havens for reproductive rights. Given the divide between the majority of the Court who voted in favor of this draft and the public’s support of abortion rights, has the Supreme Court lost its legitimacy as a branch of government that is blind to politics? We’ll talk to Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick about the future of the Court and what is at stake.


Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor, Slate - covering the courts and the law; host, "Amicus" podcast