ON THE HILL: Law expert weighs in on ramifications of SCOTUS abortion draft decision leak

A leak of a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court sent shock waves around the country after it revealed that the Court plans to strike down Roe versus Wade, overturning abortion rights.

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FOX 5's "On The Hill" spoke with law professor Jonathan Adler from Case Western Reserve University on Sunday to learn more about the ramifications of the leak.

Tom Fitzgerald first asked Adler about what it would mean for abortion laws if the draft were to become an official decision. Adler said that while the issue would change the way abortion laws are handled, it would not outlaw abortion in the U.S.

"The question before the court is whether or not state laws that restrict or even prohibit abortion, are prohibited by the constitution. Or whether or not this is a question that state legislatures may enact laws on. So if the Supreme Court goes forward with and adopts a decision similar to the one that was leaked, it would mean that abortion becomes a question for state legislatures and so different states would be allowed to adopt different rules," said Adler.

Adler said this could lead to states making abortion laws based on their political leanings.

"In more liberal states like New York and California, abortion would remain readily available the way it is now. But in more conservative states, such as Mississippi, which is at issue, my own state of Ohio, abortion would be much more restricted. And in some states, it would likely be prohibited altogether," Adler Tells FOX 5.

READ MORE: Supreme Court Leak: Why release of draft appearing to strike down Roe v. Wade is historic

Tom Fitzgerald also asked Adler about how the draft decision, if made official, would impact futures cases the Court hears.

"Without a change in the composition of the Court, I don't think we would see replays of this particular issue, but I do think we would see other sorts of cases. I think that you would see cases that challenge state restrictions on things like morning after pills or medications that can be used for abortion. You might see lawsuits about whether or not states can restrict their citizens from crossing state lines for abortion. Laws, perhaps, that criminalize or penalize, assisting somebody obtaining abortion. Those sorts of cases continue. And some would likely reach the Supreme Court," Adler tells FOX 5.

Adler also weighed in on the ramifications of information being leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a reputation for being one of the most leak proof government institutions. He believes the leak could change the way Justices operate with each other moving forward.

"Well, it's certainly hard to know why the leak occurred. There's lots of speculation about what the motivation might have been and so on. What we do know is this sort of leak. The leak of the actual text of a draft opinion about a case that is still under consideration, has never happened before," said Adler. "In terms of how it effects the court, I think the real concern is it effects the trust within the Court among the Justices, which will affect their ability to share ideas and to deliberate. We know throughout the Court's history, sometimes Justices change their minds. It could certainly even happen in this case that the back and forth, and the memos that go back and forth about draft opinions and whether they go too far or don't go far enough, has an effect on the ultimate decisions. And if Justices think that might get out, they might be less willing to engage in that sort of deliberation."

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Finally, Tom Fitzgerald asked Professor Adler what this draft decision means about the progress on an official decision, and whether it could still change. Adler explained, "Right after a case is argued, they take an initial vote and the majority opinion is assigned. But sometimes the majority opinion when it gets written, doesn't fully capture the views of a majority of the Justices. Sometimes Justices change their mind or realize an issue that they thought was easy to resolve is more difficult. And so, you know, this appears to have been a reflection of a majority of the court at the time the case was argued."

You can watch the full interview above.


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