Harvard Constitutional Law Expert Says Justice 'Misleadingly' Quoted Him In Roe Ruling


Outspoken Harvard University Law professor Laurence Tribe on Saturday accused conservative Supreme Court justices of "misleadingly quoting" him to justify their decision to throw out Roe v. Wade.

"Don't be fooled," warned Tribe, an expert on the Constitution. "The writings from which the Court cherry-picked my quotes were totally supportive of the result in Roe," he added.

Tribe didn't detail how his words were twisted or taken out of context by the conservatives on the Court. But he did call for the decision that affects "tens of millions of women" to be "undone."

Tribe also called out Justice Samuel Alito for not bothering to fix inaccuracies in his "shoddy" ruling that had been pointed out by historians in his draft of the opinion released last month.

Alito was criticized at the time for justifying his decision by repeatedly quoting someone he characterized as a "great" and "eminent" legal authority: Sir Matthew Hale.

But Hale was hardly that, historians complained. The English judge, who lived from 1609 to 1676, sentenced "witches" to death, and wrote an infamous treatise warning authorities to distrust women who reported being raped. He also declared that in marriage, a woman placed her body under her husband's "permanent dominion," rendering any marital rape accusation illegitimate.

In addition, Alito misrepresented facts about Hale's time when abortion was unregulated until a fetus "quickened," or was first felt moving in the womb, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into a pregnancy, University of Minnesota Law Professor Jill Elaine Hasday noted in The Washington Post after Alito's opinion was leaked.

As for Alito's repetitive citations and gushing praise of Hale (which remained in the final decision), it's "long past time to leave that misogyny behind," wrote Hasday.

Tribe complained that Alito paid absolutely no heed to the criticism of Hale because "he and those joining him feel untouchable and answer to no one."

More on the Supreme Court abortion ruling:

  • Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, dismantling decades-old precedent

  • Roe overturned: The fight begins

  • Abortion is now illegal in these states

  • Liberal justices dissent with "sorrow" for "millions of American women"

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "We have to fill the streets"

  • Clarence Thomas: Cases protecting gay marriage and contraception should be next

  • Republicans make it clear they want to ban abortion nationwide

  • Donald Trump praises SCOTUS decision

  • West Coast states launch a plan to protect out-of-state abortion patients

  • Here's how the world is reacting to the end of Roe

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.


  • Trump Privately 'Sh**ting' On Roe Reversal, Fearing GOP, Midterm Backlash: Report

  • Samuel Jackson Rips 'Uncle Clarence' Thomas For Risking Interracial Marriage In Roe Ruling

  • Pro-Choice Protesters Attacked And Threatened As Roe Demonstrations Continue Into Day 2

  • Rachel Maddow Predicts 'Fetal Personhood' SCOTUS Case Will End Abortion Nationwide


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