Alito Majority Opinion: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
You know the case, it’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (docket). Oral argument did not go well for the pro-abortion movement:
- Mississippi Abortion Case – Roe v. Wade’s Flight 93 Oral Argument For Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan
- SCOTUS Will Hear Challenge to Mississippi Abortion Law
You also might have thought you knew the outcome, at least based on the unprecedented leak:
- Leaked Draft Supreme Court Opinion Overturns Roe v. Wade, Politico Reports
- Clarence Thomas: “We can’t be an institution that can be bullied”
- Pro-Abortion Activists Hold Crazed Protests At Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts Homes
- Pro-Abortion Activists Target Justice Alito’s Home
- ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Pro-Abortion Activists Protest Outside Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s House
- WaPo Begrudgingly Admits ‘Protests’ Outside Justices’ Homes ‘Appear To Be Illegal’
The Court just ruled in an Opinion by Justice Alito. Roe v. Wade is overruled:
We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 721 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The right to abortion does not fall within this category. Until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in American law. Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy. The abortion right is also critically different from any other right that this Court has held to fall within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of “liberty.” Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called “fetal life” and what the law now before us describes as an “unborn human being.” ….
It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand.
MORE TO FOLLOW
Here’s how the court dealt with “stare decisis” – Roe was “egregiously wrong” (emphasis added):
Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority. 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.
The Majority were Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, with Chief Justice Roberts concurring in the judgment separately.
Here’s the key part of Roberts’ concurring opinion, he didn’t think it was necessary to reach whether Roe v. Wade survived:
…. I would take a more measured course. I agree with the Court that the viability line established by Roe and Casey should be discarded under a straightforward stare decisis analysis. That line never made any sense. Our abortion precedents describe the right at issue as a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy. That right should therefore extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose, but need not extend any further—certainly not all the way to viability. Mississippi’s law allows a woman three months to obtain an abortion, well beyond the point at which it is considered “late” to discover a pregnancy. See A. Ayoola, Late Recognition of Unintended Pregnancies, 32 Pub. Health Nursing 462 (2015) (pregnancy is discoverable and ordinarily discovered by six weeks of gestation). I see no sound basis for questioning the adequacy of that opportunity.
But that is all I would say, out of adherence to a simple yet fundamental principle of judicial restraint: If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more. Perhaps we are not always perfect in following that command, and certainly there are cases that warrant an exception. But this is not one of them. Surely we should adhere closely to principles of judicial restraint here, where the broader path the Court chooses entails repudiating a constitutional right we have not only previously recognized, but also expressly reaffirmed applying the doctrine of stare decisis. The Court’s opinion is thoughtful and thorough, but those virtues cannot compensate for the fact that its dramatic and consequential ruling is unnecessary to decide the case before us.
In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh says not to worry, we’re not coming for gay marriage:
First is the question of how this decision will affect other precedents involving issues such as contraception and marriage—in particular, the decisions in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438 (1972); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967); and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015). I emphasize what the Court today states: Overruling Roe does not mean the overruling of those precedents, and does not threaten or cast doubt on those precedents.
Second, as I see it, some of the other abortion-related legal questions raised by today’s decision are not especially difficult as a constitutional matter. For example, may a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel. May a State retroactively impose liability or punishment for an abortion that occurred before today’s decision takes effect? In my view, the answer is no based on the Due Process Clause or the Ex Post Facto Clause. Cf. Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 U. S. 347 (1964).
(added) Justice Thomas says everything should be on the table in the future:
The Court today declines to disturb substantive due process jurisprudence generally or the doctrine’s application in other, specific contexts. Cases like Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965) (right of married persons to obtain contraceptives)*; Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) (right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts); and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015) (right to same-sex marriage), are not at issue. The Court’s abortion cases are unique, see ante, at 31–32, 66, 71–72, and no party has asked us to decide “whether our entire Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence must be preserved or revised,” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 813 (opinion of THOMAS, J.). Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Ante, at 66.
For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell….
In a show of unity, Breyer, Sotmayor and Kagan wrote a joint dissent:
… Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that in the first stages of pregnancy, the government could not make that choice for women. The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be….
Roe and Casey well understood the difficulty and divisiveness of the abortion issue. The Court knew that Americans hold profoundly different views about the “moral[ity]” of “terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 850. And the Court recognized that “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting” the “life of the fetus that may become a child.” Id., at 846. So the Court struck a balance, as it often does when values and goals compete….
Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs….
Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens….
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