Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade
The leaked draft is now the law of the land.
Nina Totenberg, NPR (“Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade“):
The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, reversing Roe v. Wade, the court’s five-decade-old decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority,” the court’s conservatives wrote in their majority opinion. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
The three liberals dissented.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion of the case, in which Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett joined.
Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts filed an concurring opinion.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” they wrote.
Adam Liptak, NYT (“After a leak, the Supreme Court details its final decision on abortion.“):
The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.
The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling.
Robert Barnes, Ann E. Marimow and John Wagner, WaPo (“Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protection for abortion“):
The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, a stunning reversal that leaves states free to drastically reduce or even outlaw a procedure that abortion rights groups said is key to women’s equality and independence.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The vote was 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though, criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had reaffirmed the right to abortion.
The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was the most anticipated of the court’s term, with political tension surrounding the fight over abortion rights erupting in May with the leak of a draft opinion indicating a majority of justices intended to end the long-standing precedent.
Given both the leak and the recent trajectory, none of this comes as a surprise. That Roberts both concurred in upholding an egregiously intrusive law and yet wanted to hold out the fig leaf of not overturning the theoretical Constitutional protection for abortion does induce some eye-rolling.
Granting that times have changed but Roberts has been less effective a Chief than his two immediate predecessors. Allowing such a monumental decision to be reached but yet doing so in a mishmash of concurring opinions further weakens the Court as an institution.