What Politicians Are Saying About The Leaked Roe V. Wade Memo

It seemed as though the biggest news that would come out of May 2, 2022 was the Kardashian clan's head-turning Met Gala looks. But in a tidal wave of consequential news, Politico exclusively released a leaked majority opinion draft from the Supreme Court of the United States, threatening the future of the 1973 ruling on legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade. The leaked memo, written by Justice Samuel Alito, opined that "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start" and that "Roe and Casey must be overruled." In highlighting Casey, Alito was referencing the 1992 landmark ruling that upheld the right to choose abortion (via Legal Information Institute at Cornell University).


The draft leak to Politico is unprecedented, and as the news began to circulate to publications and social media alike, outrage ensued. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. in protest, chanting phrases such as "my body, my choice" and "your backward views have got to go," according to The Washington Post. Naturally, statements from politicians began circulating overnight and into the next morning, with President Joe Biden quickly weighing in, among other lawmakers.

President Joe Biden

In the wake of the SCOTUS opinion draft leak, President Joe Biden took to Twitter with an official statement. Having defended Roe v. Wade in the past, Biden's stance did not come as a surprise. In his statement, the president did start off with two caveats: He specified that the "genuine" nature of the leaked opinion was unknown, and that the "final decision of the Court" has yet to be handed down. He further stated that his administration has "argued strongly before the Court" that Roe v. Wade is and should be the law of the land, as it is a precedent ruling indicative of the 14th Amendment.


"I believe that a woman's right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned," Biden wrote to a chorus of likes, retweets, and comments. "At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law."

Vice President Kamala Harris

While Vice President Kamala Harris retweeted President Joe Biden's official statement, she also took to Twitter with a statement of her own, arguably striking a far more contentious tone with her words for Republican lawmakers. "This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have," Harris wrote alongside her official statement, attached to her tweet as a photo. Her words certainly packed a punch.


"What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies," Harris wrote in a statement on May 3. "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."

The vice president went on to comment on the nature of the Roe v. Wade ruling, which was argued as a privacy right. Harris wrote in her official statement that if "the right to privacy is weakened," people across the country could potentially experience government intervention "in the personal decisions you make about your life." Her words were supported by a number of people on Twitter, some of whom called on the vice president to "come up with a plan."


Senator Mitch McConnell

Arguably the most powerful Republican in office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, made it clear that he was more disturbed by the breach of the Supreme Court than by the threat to abortion rights. In a statement on Twitter, McConnell wrote that the "stunning breach" was nothing less than "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court," and blamed the "radical left" for bullying and intimidating federal judges. He also took aim at Democratic politicians, rebuking them for not taking a stand on "judicial independence."


"The disgraceful statements by President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer refuse to defend judicial independence and the rule of law and instead play into this toxic spectacle," McConnell wrote. "Real leaders should defend the Court's independence unconditionally."

The minority leader carried on by shifting his attention to the Supreme Court justices themselves, writing that they move forward without being influenced by public outrage. "All nine Justices should tune out the bad-faith noise and feel totally free to do their jobs, following the facts and the law where they lead," he wrote.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Reporters clamored around Senator Elizabeth Warren when the news from Politico broke, and her unfiltered response has been seen widely across social media. A video shared by The Cut on Instagram shows the senator walking to her car with aides, visibly shaken by the news. "I am angry. Angry and upset and determined," Warren said. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades. They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench."


The former Democratic presidential candidate took to Twitter herself shortly thereafter, writing to her 5.8 million followers that abortion rights should be protected at all costs, that the filibuster system must end, and that the Supreme Court should be expanded. The idea of expanding the Supreme Court has been circulating for some time, and while the court has grown with time, the notion is one of extreme polarization.

"I am angry because an extremist Supreme Court thinks they can impose their extremist views on all of the women of this country and they are wrong," Warren wrote in another tweet. "I have seen the world where abortion is illegal. We're not going back — not now, not ever."

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

One of the most prominent members of the Democratic caucus, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, held nothing back in the immediate aftermath of the leaked SCOTUS news. Taking to Twitter to put her own party on blast, AOC wrote that it is often these types of political situations that motivate voters to side with Democrats — if the party fails to act, she wrote, "corruption" will win. "People elected Democrats precisely so we could lead in perilous moments like these," AOC commented. "It's high time we do it."


The young representative didn't stop there, and further made her stance regarding her Congressional Republican counterparts known. Specifically calling out Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted to confirm Trump-nominated justice Amy Coney Barrett, AOC wrote, "She and [Susan] Collins betrayed the nation's reproductive rights when they were singularly capable of stopping the slide. They don't get to play victim now."

To what specifically was the representative referring? In the leak's aftermath, Murkowski stated that she was completely shocked by the news and felt as though she was "misled" by the Supreme Court nominees she helped to confirm. "My confidence in the court has been rocked," she said, per NBC News reporter Frank Thorp V.


Former Vice President Mike Pence

While he is not currently serving in office, former Vice President Mike Pence weighed in on the Supreme Court majority's opinion draft, releasing a number of statements via social media. Pence is known for being a staunch supporter of pro-life causes and is rumored to be exploring a 2024 bid for the presidency. As such, he has largely stayed in the public eye and is set to take to the speech circuit amid the Roe v. Wade news (via The Post and Courier).


In reference to the leak, Pence invoked the words of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — arguably an unusual move given their extremely different political ideologies. "The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once wrote that the Court's decision in Roe was 'heavy-handed judicial intervention' that 'was difficult to justify,'" Pence tweeted. "Now our Supreme Court has a chance to right that historic wrong once and for all!"

As for his future appearances, Pence is set to join the Carolina Pregnancy Center on Thursday, May 5, to speak to supporters. The former vice president announced his upcoming appearance on Twitter, writing, "Life is Winning in America!"

Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The leaders of the Democratic Congressional members, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined forces to rebuke the SCOTUS Roe v. Wade majority opinion draft. Not only did they affirm their position as the pro-choice party, but the two leaders doubled down on assigning blame. Who did they credit for the unraveling decision, you may ask? Former president Donald Trump.


"Several conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the people, have lied to the Senate, ripped up the Constitution, and defiled precedent and the Court's reputation — all at the expense of women who could soon be stripped of bodily autonomy and constitutional rights they've relied on for half a century," Schumer and Pelosi wrote in their official statement. "The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump."

Schumer independently went on to say that the Senate will move on legislation to "codify the right to an abortion in law," calling the situation "urgent." "We will vote on protecting ... women's right to choose, and every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," Schumer tweeted to a chorus of likes, retweets, and comments.


Senator Susan Collins

Throughout President Joe Biden's presidency, all eyes have been on the more moderate Republicans in Congress, one of whom being Senator Susan Collins. Collins has sided with the Democrats on a number of key issues, but she broke away and rejoined her own political party when confirming Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — both Trump-appointees — to the bench.


Amid the Roe v. Wade news, Collins has expressed her shock and dismay at the reports that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh sided with the majority, saying that she felt misled by the judges during their nomination processes. "If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement (via NBC News). "Obviously, we won't know each justice's decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case." NBC News also noted that Collins dodged questions from reporters after the news broke, repeatedly saying that she had already "put out a statement."


Representative Raphael Warnock

All eyes were on Georgia during the 2020 election, as the fate of its Senate representation was up in the air. Due in part to the on-the-ground voter registration efforts of current gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, two Democratic candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, won their races and became Georgia's representatives in the Senate. Warnock is up for reelection come 2022, and in addition to making himself known as a Democratic lawmaker, the politician is also a pastor. His faith and history within the religious practice are well-documented, and in the wake of the Roe v. Wade news, the lawmaker took to Twitter to make his stance clear.


"As a pro-choice pastor, I've always believed that a patient's room is way too small for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government," Warnock wrote. "I'll always fight to protect a woman's right to choose. And that will never change." Supporters in Warnock's comments quickly pointed out the lawmaker's obvious separation between church and state, a fundamental aspect of the bedrock of the United States. "Thank you, Georgia, for sending this man to Congress," one supporter tweeted back.

Senator Ted Cruz

Perhaps one of the most divisive members of the GOP is Senator Ted Cruz. The former Republican presidential hopeful even has members of his own party at arm's length, with the sentiment "you either hate him or you hate him" forever tied to him (via The Independent). But the Texas lawmaker was quick to come out in favor of pro-life policies, taking to Twitter to not only reaffirm his own stance on abortion but to chastise the unnamed person who leaked the SCOTUS majority opinion draft to Politico.


"The decision of an immoral and unethical individual to leak the Court's confidential working documents is the predictable consequence of a multi-year effort by Senate Democrats to politicize and undermine the Court," Cruz tweeted in the aftermath of the leak. Additionally, Cruz said that the Roe v. Wade decision "was wrong the day it was decided" and criticized the lawyers who argued the case all the way back in 1973, according to CNN's White House correspondent John Harwood (via Twitter). "It was seven unelected lawyers who declared to the American people that the voters no longer have the right to make decisions about abortion," Cruz said.

Representative Kevin McCarthy

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined forces in the wake of the Politico leak, so did Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Whip Steve Scalise, and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. In a joint statement released shortly after the news came to light, McCarthy and company refuted the very notion of an opinion leak to the press, writing that the breach of confidentiality should be a point of investigation.


"Yesterday's unprecedented leak is an attempt to severely damage the Supreme Court," McCarthy tweeted. "This clearly coordinated campaign to intimidate and obstruct the Justices from upholding the Constitution must be immediately investigated."

The joint official statement also spoke on behalf of House Republicans, as the leader wrote that the caucus is "committed to upholding the sanctity of life." "We will continue to be a voice for the truly voiceless," McCarthy continued. "We pray for the resolve of our Justices and for a decision that protects our most basic and precious right, the right to life." Comments left on the leader's post were certainly divided, with some pointing to the separation of church and state, while others supported the notion of an internal investigation.


Senator Mitt Romney

While some Democrats expected Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to side with them from time to time, it did come as a surprise when former Republican presidential candidate and now-Senator Mitt Romney came to the left's side. Having supported his colleagues across the aisle a number of times now, Romney has been a bit of a wild card as of late (via The New York Times). But in the wake of the leaked opinion released by Politico, Romney said that he supports the rolling back of abortion rights across the country.


"If the leaked draft opinion reflects the final outcome, it is a decision I support," Romney wrote in his official statement. "The sanctity of human life is a foundational American principle. Laws regarding abortion would now be returned to the people and their elected representatives."

In addition to claiming that abortion should be a state-by-state issue, Romney, like many of his Republican counterparts, took a moment to address the leak itself, calling the breach "an appalling affront against a critical institution." He concluded, saying, "[The leak] should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished."

Senator Bernie Sanders

When the 2016 presidential campaign kicked off, it seemed as though Hillary Clinton would run pretty much unopposed, as no other prominent Democrat had the backing — or political capital — that matched the former secretary of state's. But all of the sudden, a relatively unknown Independent by the name of Bernie Sanders busted onto the scene, and the public hasn't gotten enough of him ever since. Sanders may not have won the presidential race, but his unabashed honesty and no-nonsense demeanor (and his viral mittens) keep him in the public eye regularly, so it came as no surprise that he quickly broke his silence regarding the majority opinion draft about Roe v. Wade.


In a statement released on Twitter, Sanders spoke to the role that the legislative branch can take when it comes to protecting abortion rights. He also shed light on the voting process, criticizing the filibuster system once again.

"Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW," Sanders wrote to a litany of likes and comments. "And if there aren't 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Senator Marco Rubio

In response to a tweet by Senator Bernie Sanders, who said that legislation should be passed that codifies Roe v. Wade, Senator Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate who made a name for himself on the 2016 campaign trail, offered up his own interpretation. "Translation: Let's change the rules of the Senate to pass a federal law legalizing the killing of unborn children right up to the day of delivery," Rubio tweeted, writing from his personal account rather than his official Senate account. Following his deciphering of Sanders' statement, Rubio also tweeted a Bible citation: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5." It should be noted that the Establishment Clause, also known as the separation between church and state, is the first clause in the Bill of Rights.


As for the future of Roe v. Wade and the current case lodged against the standing precedent — Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health v. Jackson Women's Health Organization — the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision sometime in late June or early July, per the BBC