Justice Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs obliterates a half century of precedent overruling Roe and also introduced us to a new awesome timeline where the Supreme Court launches its own little Spanish Inquisition just because someone prevented the Court from sitting on its most egregious assaults on the Constitution until it’s ready to walk out the door for summer break.
But the draft opinion does more than eliminate Roe, it declares that any liberty interest that couldn’t be enjoyed by white, heterosexual men in the 18th century is inherently suspect. Alito likes to use his opinions to set the table. He used a random case as a springboard to tell lawyers to bring him a case gutting unions and then he did — flushing four decades of precedent along the way. The draft flagging marriage equality and contraceptives — couched in approving language that reads a lot more like, “awful nice same-sex marriage you got here, shame if something happened to it” — provides Alito’s wish list of the next decade. I don’t think Alito is the leaker, but if the final opinion comes out and those explicit references are removed, it wouldn’t take much to convince me he just wanted to make sure his blueprint got out there first.
But this plan of attack — even if the draft opinion undergoes some moderation — also telegraphs the battles attorneys will need to wage for their clients going forward. A joint statement signed by over 100 law school organizations focuses on this and offers a rallying call for the profession.
As we prepare to enter the legal community, it is our collective responsibility to confront and challenge the injustices of the system we are inheriting. As future lawyers, it is our obligation to fight for justice while protecting and restoring the credibility of our legal institutions. Whether
we do so through direct advocacy, litigation, public interest work or pro bono, we must not rest until our bodies and fundamental rights remain solely ours.
We call on law students, legal scholars, legal organizations, and lawyers across the country to leverage the tools we have been given to advocate for a more just society. We call on the Supreme Court to respect precedent and protect our rights.
No Federalist Society signatories? That’s so weird since we’re always told they’re so non-partisan!
Check out the full letter here.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.