MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As fallout continues over the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, Alabama legal experts say this leak could have long-lasting impacts on the institution.
“My first opinion was shock,” Birmingham School of Law Adjunct Law Professor Stacy Hansen said.
Hansen says the justices’ deliberative process of drafting opinions and sharing ideas freely is now at risk.
“There have been times that everybody orally agreed this is the path we’re going down, but then the opinion gets drafted and it changes the minds of justices. But to leak a draft is wrong on so many fronts,” Hansen said.
She says the court’s decision-making is supposed to be insulated from public pressure, but this leak threatens that independence.
“Their decision is based on interpretation of the constitution and precedent, not on the pressures from society,” Hansen said.
Hansen expects the court will say more about the incident after the investigation, but Director of Constitutional Studies at the University of Alabama School of Law Tara Grove thinks the court will keep quiet after this.
“This is an extraordinarily embarrassing thing to have happen to the court, and I suspect they’d like to keep as much as possible behind closed doors,” Grove said.
Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town says if Roe is overturned, the decision will go back to the states.
“The 50 states would be 50 laboratories that can decide whether or not abortion is legal, and then to what extent,” Town said.
Alabama passed a law in 2019 banning abortion that would take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.