The Supreme Court majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision said it could not let the threat of public backlash influence their decision making in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The high court ruled Friday in a 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. A draft opinion of the decision was leaked in May and has triggered a string of protests and threats against the justices.
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said despite the possibility of backlash, the court could not let that influence its job.
“26 States expressly ask us to overrule Roe and Casey and to return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote. “This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the strength of our opinions, not an attempt to exercise ‘raw judicial power.'”
“We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey,” Alito wrote. “And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly.”
Alito touched on Alexander Hamilton’s “Federalist 78,” in the decision, noting the court is solely meant to adjudicate the law without regard to public opinion. (RELATED: Trump Speaks Out On SCOTUS’ Decision To Overturn Roe V. Wade)
Hamilton wrote “the judiciary … will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them … it may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment.”
Since the leak, protesters have taken to threats, including a failed assassination attempt against conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Unsettling flyers were posted around D.C., in the days leading up to the official release of the decision warning of a “night of rage.”
“DC call to action. Night of rage. The night SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade HIT THE STREETS. You said you’d riot.”
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) June 17, 2022
“To our oppressors, if abortions aren’t safe you’re not either,” the flyer continued.
Several pro-life organizations have also fallen victim to attacks since the leak, with a pro-abortion group known as “Jane’s Revenge” claiming responsibility for several of them.