AN LAWYER SPEAKS| John Walsh: “The removal of Roe vs. Wade would have a radical effect on America. (Photo/ El Comercio de Colorado)
JOHN WALSH, FORMER COLORADO FEDERAL ATTORNEY SPEAKS
Newsroom El Comercio de Colorado
We spoke with John Walsh, former US Attorney in Colorado (2010-2016). “If the draft of Judge Alito turns out to be the official position of the Supreme Court, then the right to abortion will be overturned according to certain circumstances. This sentence is going to have a radical impact on the law of the United States,” Walsh said.
What are the consequences of the leak of the draft sentence that would eliminate Roe vs. Wade?
John Walsh: I think there is no precedent of something like this happening. Of course, we still don’t know the source of the leak. It could have been someone from the liberal wing or the conservative wing of the Supreme Court Justices. An employee, an assistant, who knows. The impact of the leak has been to undermine mutual trust between the judges of the court.
It is possible that the quality of their opinions may decrease as a result of the lack of open conversation between them. For the institution, the leak is a disaster.
Can the leak motivate any change in the positions of the Justices?
JW: I think positions will be radicalized by freezing relationships and trust between judges.
What would be the impact of the overturn of Roe v. Wade?
JW: The truth is that Judge Alito’s draft does not beat around the bush and completely annuls the Roe v. Wade ruling of almost 50 years ago. The draft describes that decision as terribly wrong and rejects any constitutional right to abortion.
What does that position imply?
JW: The legal basis for Roe v. Wade was the idea of a right to privacy. If that sentence no longer exists, there will be doubts about the strength of the right to privacy. Many commentators have already raised the possibility that in a future ruling the Supreme Court will completely annul this concept. The consequences of a nullification of the right to privacy will be even more radical. For example, the right to use contraceptives could become at risk.
Is there any precedent for a similar ruling?
JW: I have not been able to identify a single previous Supreme Court ruling that has removed a well-established right such as Roe v. Wade. Judge Alito cites examples of decisions that actually overturned previous decisions and sentences. But Alito’s examples are different and do not cancel rights. The justice referred to Brown v. Board Education, which eliminated the racist doctrine of separation in schools.