Roe v Wade: Ilhan Omar calls for Supreme Court expansion following draft leak

Roe v Wade: Ilhan Omar calls for Supreme Court expansion following draft leak
Following the leaked US Supreme Court draft indicating plans to overturn the 1973 decision that constitutionally protects a woman’s right to an abortion, Representative Ilhan Omar and other progressives have called for an expansion of the court.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
07 May, 2022
Representative Ilhan Omar has reiterated her support for expanding the Supreme Court following the Roe v Wade reversal leak [Getty]

US Representative Ilhan Omar earlier this week called for the expansion of the Supreme Court following Monday’s leaked draft indicating plans to overturn the 1973 Roe versus Wade decision that constitutionally protects a woman’s right to an abortion.

"Since 1988, Republicans have won the popular vote exactly one time, but have selected 6 of the last 9 SCOTUS Justices. Expand the court or an antidemocratic minority will continue to control our laws & our bodies," she tweeted on Tuesday, the day after the draft decision was leaked.

"Overturning Roe would put the lives of women across the country at risk. It would fly in the face of decades of precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion. And they will not stop here. Expand the court."

Omar was retweeting a reporter who, citing the majority draft opinion by Samuel Alito, said that it raised the possibility of the reversing of Roe v Wade setting a precedent for other decisions that affect personal rights.

Slate reporter Mark Joseph Stern tweeted: "Alito's draft opinion explicitly criticizes Lawrence v. Texas (legalizing sodomy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (legalizing same-sex marriage). He says that, like abortion, these decisions protect phony rights that are not ‘deeply rooted in history.’"

Though court-packing, as it’s often called, might sound like a radical idea, it’s a concept that has been discussed for many years. The court started with six justices, and has since had as few as five and as many as 10.

The idea of expanding the court was under serious consideration during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration in the mid-1930s, and was again reignited following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg during Donald Trump’s administration. President Joe Biden, who was against court expansion before taking office, later approved a commission to study the matter.

Omar is also pushing to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and codify Roe v Wade. Both would give legal protection for women’s abortion rights, a position also being pushed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic leaders.

Noting the lack of funding for mothers and young children, Omar tweeted: "So the Republican Party supports forcing women to give birth against their will, but opposes providing childcare, paid leave or healthcare. Got it."

Her progressive colleague, Rashida Tlaib, also tweeted about expanding the Supreme Court - though only once, and from her personal Twitter account.

"This will endanger the very people who need access to legal abortion," Tlaib said of an overturning of Roe v Wade.

"The Senate must pass the House legislation to codify Roe, #AbolishTheFilibuster, and #ExpandSCOTUS."