‘A real, significant breach:’ Florida Gov. DeSantis reacts to Supreme Court leaked draft opinion

Investigation underway into leaked document

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis called the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision indicating Roe v. Wade would be overturned “a real, significant breach.”

Politico published a draft of an opinion Monday that was dated to February and shows a majority of justices could be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

The document was labeled a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services. It would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.

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During a news conference in Fort Myers Beach, the governor said the leak was “really unprecedented.”

“I think it was intentional to try to whip up a lot of the public, to try to make it very political and potentially try to bully one of them into changing their positions. And that is not something that’s appropriate for the judicial branch,” he said. “I hope, I know they launched an investigation, so they need to figure out who did that, and they need to hold them accountable, because that is a real, significant breach of trust.”

DeSantis said the federal case creates ripples for state abortion laws, including one he signed in April that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the draft holds, states could regulate their own abortion laws or ban abortion completely.

“We are also anticipating that when our protections go into effect July 1, that will be subject to a state constitutional and statutory challenge. There is case law that’s out there that we would have to overcome to be able to sustain those protections. I think we can do it, but I do think that’s going to be something that is going to happen once the law takes effect. So we’ll see what the federal, U.S. Supreme Court does, and then obviously we are going to see some litigation on the state level with the protections that we have done,” he said.

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If the decision stands as written, it would also overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that protected abortion services even though it allowed states to add some limitations.

A decision to overrule Roe would have sweeping ramifications, leading to abortion bans in roughly half of states in the U.S., sparking new efforts in Democratic-leaning states to protect access to abortion and potentially reshaping the contours of this year’s hotly contested midterm elections.

The Supreme Court justices generally spend May and June finishing their writing in cases that have been argued and then issuing the remaining opinions before going on a summer break. On the court’s calendar, the next day when opinions would normally be expected is May 16.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.