The Supreme Court Just Outlined How It Might Get Rid of Abortion Rights
To overrule Roe v. Wade, the Court’s five conservatives will first have to explain why they’re setting aside a 46-year-old precedent. A separate case decided this week provides hints about how they’ll do it.
By Jay Willis
May 13, 2019
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, in which the Court's five-justice conservative bloc determined that state governments enjoy sovereign immunity — that is, they cannot be sued as a matter of law — in both their own state's courts and in the courts of other states, too.
This case is notable not only because of its implications for the future of litigating certain interstate civil claims. To reach its conclusion in Hyatt, the majority first had to overturn a 40-year-old Supreme Court case that reached the opposite conclusion, over the vociferous protestations of the four-justice liberal minority. At a moment when anti-choice activists are working diligently to get a case before the Court that will allow its five conservative justices to overturn the 46-year-old precedent of Roe v. Wade, thereby gutting abortion rights in this country, Hyatt functions as a tidy preview of that coming showdown. And the result should make pro-choice advocates very nervous.