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Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court.Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion by conservative Justice Samuel Alito regarding the overturn of Roe v. Wade, though it stressed that the draft does not reflect a final decision in the case.

On Monday evening, Politico published a leak of what appeared to be a draft of a 5-4 majority opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks. The opinion indicated that if real and final, the justices have voted 5-4 to finally overturn the 1973 ruling that forced all fifty states to permit legal abortion, as well as 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe’s conclusion while modifying some of its details.

The leak quickly sent shockwaves across the political spectrum, with pro-lifers tentatively rejoicing, abortion supporters lashing out, and many speculating that the leak may have been intended to pressure judges to flip their votes, or to incite hatred and threats against them.

On Tuesday morning, the Court issued a statement clarifying that “the document described in yesterday’s report is authentic” but “does not represent a final decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

The press release also contained a statement from Chief Justice John Roberts, who declared the leak would not affect the Court’s work “in any way” and announced that he has “directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source.”

“Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court,” Roberts said. “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.” 

It remains unclear whether the draft represents a tentative intention to overturn Roe, was written in anticipation of a majority to overturn, or was written in hopes of persuading Alito’s colleagues to sign on. Alternatively, it’s possible that the draft does represent the Court’s decision, but the Court does not want to confirm the outcome until formally issuing the opinion along with concurring and dissenting opinions.