Breyer Gives Cryptic Answer On Foiled Supreme Court Abortion 'Compromise'

Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly tried to salvage Roe v. Wade with a compromise opinion before the Dobbs draft leaked.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer refused to say whether the justices had been working toward a middle position on abortion rights when the opinion was leaked two years ago. But, he told NBC News, “I usually hope for a compromise.”

Breyer was still on the bench when Politico published the court’s 2022 draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which revoked the federal right to an abortion. While the leaker’s identity and motivation have yet to be uncovered, the move was widely seen to cement the draft opinion in history. The final opinion differed very little.

Breyer called the leak “unfortunate” in his interview with “Meet the Press,” portions of which aired Friday.

When asked to address reports that the justices were thinking about stopping short of completely overturning Roe v. Wade, which established the right to an abortion in 1973, Breyer offered little more than a sideward glance.

“You know as much about that as I do. You saw what Chief Justice [John] Roberts wrote,” he said.

“When you see what is written, the normal situation is, before something is written in the conference, people — in some form or other — will discuss what they’re thinking of writing. Not always. And not identical. But there’s usually some discussion,” he continued.

Asked whether he was “hopeful” that the court might have chosen to limit abortion at 15 weeks, Breyer joked: “You’re going to put words in my mouth.”

“I’m careful what I say on this,” he added. “I’ve written what I thought.”

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