Montana Reacts to Leak of Roe v Wade Supreme Court Decision
Late Monday night, a source within the U.S. Supreme Court leaked the 5-4 majority draft ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
KGVO has reached out to numerous individuals for their reactions; first for the leak itself, and then for the effect of the decision to overturn the law.
Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson with the Independence Institute in Denver said he was not surprised with the 5-4 decision.
“If the decision in fact does become final, it would reverse Roe vs. Wade and send abortion policy back to the back to the States,” said Natelson. “I'll say, Peter, that the decision is not entirely a surprise if you tracked very carefully how the court treated state mandates back during the COVID pandemic.”
Natelson has a suspicion about who may have prematurely leaked the decision to the press; why, and if that leak could force a change in the vote.
“If they could take another vote, anyone is free to change their vote,” he said. “In fact, that may be the goal of whoever did the leaking. Professor Alan Dershowitz has suggested that the most likely leaker would be a liberal law clerk serving one of the justices on the court, and I agree with that. I think that is the likely source of the leak, and the motive may be to try to apply public pressure to one of the five who are currently in the majority to get them to change their vote.”
Recently, KGVO spoke with both Natelson and University of Montana law professor Dr. Anthony Johnstone about just such a scenario. Dr. Johnstone maintained that the Montana Supreme Court’s privacy clause would automatically allow abortion in the state.
“Montana’s right to privacy clearly had nothing to do with abortion,” said Natelson. “There was discussion during the Constitutional Convention in 1972; the same convention that proposed the right to privacy, that the issue of abortion would be left up to the state legislatures. In addition, at that time, Montana had a very strong pro life law. Nobody suggested the right to privacy would change that. The right to privacy was mostly about freedom from surveillance by government, which became an issue at the time.”
There was also a question of timing regarding the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who many feel that she would have voted with the minority to uphold Roe v Wade. Natelson explained why he disagreed with that view.
“It's almost certain that Justice Stephen Breyer has voted to sustain Roe vs. Wade or at least keep it in part, and so she would replace him,” he said. “None of the five justices that we believe are behind this decision to reverse Roe v Wade would be replaced by the new justice.”
Also speaking to KGVO News about the Roe v Wade decision was Missoula Democratic legislator Ellie Boldman.
“I'm in shock. I'm appalled,” said Boldman. “I think that this is not something that Montanans that I know on both sides of the aisle support. I think that as Montanans we absolutely cherish government staying out of our lives, we cherish our freedoms. You know that I'm a Catholic, but I certainly don't impose my views, politically or otherwise, on my friends and neighbors. And so I just think this sets us back certainly 50 years.”
Boldman reacted to Justice Alito’s plea in the decision to return the abortion issue to the state legislatures.
“I think we know that is absolute garbage as far as our United States Constitution has always said,” she said. “I've been in that state capitol representing Missoula for the last 12 years, and I can assure my fellow Montanans that the political winds change each session, and if Montanans don't think that the Supremacy Clause protects the individual rights of all of us, then we've sort of missed the whole point of our founding fathers.”
Asked about what remedies should be pursued if the Supreme Court decision stands, Boldman provided this statement.
“The remedy then is that every Montanan will get out and they will exercise the right to vote to make sure that their state legislature represents the right to individual freedom, the right to have government stay out of their lives,” she said. “We will knock on doors, we will win back elections and we will make sure that we have a legislature that does not put their particular religious views on our individual freedoms.”
KGVO also reached out to Nicole Smith, Executive Director of the Blue Mountain Clinic, who provided this statement.
‘Blue Mountain Clinic has provided compassionate abortion care to the Missoula community and beyond for over 45 years. Now, more than ever, we need Montanans to stand up and protect bodily autonomy and our right to make personal healthcare decisions. Abortion care is healthcare.’
Senator Steve Daines released this statement:
U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines, founder and chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, today issued the following statement after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked to the public.
“Leaking a draft opinion by the Supreme Court is unprecedented and reprehensible. There should be an immediate investigation into who is responsible as it is a clear attempt to intimidate the Court. With that said, if the draft opinion stands, the Court will have righted an historic injustice and returned the power to the American people and their elected officials to enact laws to protect unborn children and mothers,” Daines said.’
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte also released this statement;
'This shameful, unprecedented leak is nothing more than an activist’s effort to undermine the Supreme Court and its integrity. The judiciary must be able to conduct and complete its work without threat. While outraged by this extraordinary breach, I join millions of hopeful Americans that Roe v. Wade will be put into the vault of history and that the American people and their elected representatives will be empowered once again.' – Governor Gianforte
A statement was also released by Senate President Mark Blasdel and House Majority Leader Sue Vinton:
‘We condemn this egregious leak by a woke liberal activist clearly designed to undermine and intimidate the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court must issue its ruling based solely on the text of the U.S. Constitution. We will wait for the Court’s official and final decision rather than comment on an improperly leaked draft. Roe v. Wade was wrong from the day it was issued and we hope and believe that Life will prevail.’
Legislators are publicly elected officials. Legislator emails sent or received involving legislative business may be subject to the Right to Know provisions of the Montana Constitution and may be considered a "public record" pursuant to Montana law. As such, email, sent or received, its sender and receiver, and the email contents, may be subject to public disclosure, except as otherwise provided by Montana law.
Boldman said there will also be a 'Protect Abortion Rally' on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in front of the Missoula County Courthouse.