A draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that POLITICO published this week revealed that the nation’s highest judicial body is evidently prepared to strike down the legally established nationwide right to an abortion. The move isn’t final — and in theory the alignment of the Justices on this issue could change — but in the meantime, the available evidence indicates that five of nine Justices support overturning the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pushed abolishing the Senate’s filibuster in response.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.):
"There is no other recourse. We must abolish the filibuster in order to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, and we must expand the Supreme Court in order to reclaim the stolen seats, and restore balance and the faith of the American people."
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) May 3, 2022
Doing away with filibuster provisions in the Senate would mean that the chamber’s current Democratic majority could pass legislative protections for abortion that would essentially nullify the impact of judicial decision-making on the issue. The problem, of course, is that two Democratic Senators — Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — have proven themselves to be consistently committed to keeping the Senate’s filibuster rules in place. When the chamber considered limited changes to the rules to pass new federal protections for voting rights, they were the only two Democrats to vote with all Republicans to leave the filibuster rules alone.
A stolen, illegitimate, and far-right Supreme Court majority appears set to destroy the right to abortion, an essential right which protects the health, safety, and freedom of millions of Americans. There is no other recourse. We must expand the court.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) May 3, 2022
Markey, meanwhile, remarked as follows on Monday:
‘Tonight, the American people got a sneak preview of what a stolen, illegitimate, and far-right Supreme Court majority appears poised to do: destroy the right to abortion. This decision would undermine the health, safety, and freedom of millions of Americans, and it will be made at the hands of justices who Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans foisted on the bench into stolen seats… There is no other recourse. We must abolish the filibuster in order to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, and we must expand the Supreme Court in order to reclaim the stolen seats, and restore balance and the faith of the American people. Tonight, I ask my colleagues in the Senate what other judicial outrage must we endure from the illegitimate majority on the Court before we act.’
I am asking every member of the Senate right now, what other judicial outrage must we endure from this illegitimate majority before we act?
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) May 3, 2022
For the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to be overturned would mean that the issue of abortion access would be passed, at least in part, back to state leaders, who would be hypothetically free to either allow or restrict access to the procedure. Obviously, Republicans in power across the country would no doubt leap at the opportunity to impose legislative wins for their side on such a high-profile issue, even at the expense of the health of the many people who would be affected by abortion restrictions.
Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. 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.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 3, 2022
In the meantime, the draft majority opinion — written by George W. Bush appointee Samuel Alito — has the apparent support of five total Justices, including, besides Alito, all three of Trump’s appointees and Clarence Thomas. Chief Justice John Roberts is reportedly not inclined towards completely undoing the legal precedents established by the Roe decision, putting him in the apparent minority with the court’s three Democratic-appointed Justices. CNN says that the final majority opinion in this case — which involves a Mississippi law that, if allowed to remain on the books, would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — is expected in late June.
Important to remember: Overturning Roe vs. Wade will impact Americans with the fewest resources, not the wealthy or well-connected
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) May 3, 2022