How the SCOTUS ‘Supermajority’ is shaping policy on everything from abortion to guns

June 6, 2023
By Dave Davies
44-Minute Listen

Constitutional lawyer Michael Waldman says that there's an increasing distance between the American people and the Supreme Court. He points out that Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections, but Republican presidents have appointed six of the nine justices now on the Supreme Court.

"In a sense, the country is moving in one direction and, with this locked-in majority supermajority, the Court is moving fast in another direction," Waldman says.


USA – The Right’s War on Abortion Was Never About Legal Doctrine

The justices in the Dobbs majority promised to return abortion “to the people’s elected representatives.” For conservative activists, this was just the beginning.

MAY 30, 2023

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court’s conservatives tried to couch the decision in moderated, legalistic terms.  

In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Court was simply returning the power to regulate abortion “to the people’s elected representatives.” Justice Brett Kavanaugh filed a platitude-ridden concurrence stating that “on the issue of abortion, the Constitution is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. The Constitution is neutral.” Both justices were making the same point. They were claiming that the decision did not speak to the propriety of abortion, but instead was a judgment only about the scope of the Constitution.



Reporters are parroting — and spreading — sentimental falsehoods.

Judith Levine
May 27 2023

“ONCE A FETAL heartbeat could be detected, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy … ”

When I read this phrase in the New Yorker, referring to Texas’s first abortion ban, I shot off a letter to the editor. “This is misleading,” I wrote. “There is no heartbeat at six weeks because the fetus does not yet have a heart. As San Francisco OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Kerns told NPR: ‘What we’re really detecting is a grouping of cells that are initiating some electrical activity. In no way is this detecting a functional cardiovascular system or a functional heart.’” I noted that “a six-week fetus is about the size and shape of a baked bean.”


US supreme court blocks ruling limiting access to abortion pill

Federal judge in Texas ruled in early April to suspend FDA-approved mifepristone used in more than half of abortions in US

Poppy Noor and agencies
Sat 22 Apr 2023

The supreme court decided on Friday to temporarily block a lower court ruling that had placed significant restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone.

The justices granted emergency requests by the justice department and the pill’s manufacturer, Danco Laboratories, to halt a preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge in Texas. The judge’s order would significantly limit the availability of the medication as litigation proceeds in a challenge by anti-abortion groups.


The Anti-Abortion Movement Finally Went Too Far for This Supreme Court

Mifepristone will remain legal in blue states, despite a lawless judicial effort to ban it.

APRIL 21, 2023

On Friday evening, the Supreme Court halted U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s unprecedented effort to remove a key abortion drug, mifepristone, from the market nationwide. The order, which appears to be 7–2, ensures that mifepristone will remain legal and accessible in states where it remains lawful to prescribe. Only Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted their dissents, but not a single justice even tried to defend the decision by Kacsmaryk, a Donald Trump appointee whose ruling earlier this month represented a particularly lawless attempt to assert power over the Food and Drug Administration. Friday’s stay sends a strong message to the lower courts that SCOTUS will not entertain this cynical attempt to impose new nationwide restrictions—and potentially even a ban—on abortion.


The Supreme Court’s new abortion pill decision, explained

The justices hand down the first decision in the mifepristone litigation saga that is not completely unhinged.

By Ian Millhiser 

Apr 21, 2023

The Supreme Court handed down a brief order on Friday in Danco Laboratories v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a lawsuit asking the federal judiciary to effectively ban mifepristone, a drug used in more than half of all abortions in the United States.

The most immediate impact of the Court’s new order is that the justices voted to stay lower court decisions that would have cut off access to mifepristone, at least for the time being. That means that mifepristone remains available, and that patients who live in states where abortion is legal may still obtain the drug in the same way they would have obtained it if this lawsuit had never been filed.


Two days that could shape abortion access and the future of American health care

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Thu April 20, 2023

The future of a widely used medication to end pregnancies, the health care options of American women and even the viability of US regulatory approvals for routine drugs are all in question as the Supreme Court deliberates on a critical abortion case ahead of a deadline extended to Friday.

Justice Samuel Alito gave the court more time Wednesday, extending a temporary hold on an order by a Texas judge, which would block approval of the mifepristone, and on a subsequent appeals court ruling, which would let the government’s approval of the drug stand but agreed access could be limited. It’s the most important abortion case since the high court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. The extension, until 11:59 p.m. ET Friday, means the drug remains available. But the possibility of health care chaos will not ease over the next 48 hours.


US Supreme Court upholds temporary access to abortion pill

Lower courts had issued restrictions on access to the abortion pill, used in about half of all US abortions.

19 Apr 2023

The United States Supreme Court has extended a temporary ruling that allows access to the abortion pill mifepristone, as anti-abortion rights groups seek to roll back approval for the medication, which is used in about half of all of the country’s abortions.

Wednesday’s decision by US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito puts the issue on hold for two additional days, until Friday at 11:59pm US Eastern time (03:59 GMT Saturday).


‘The justices were kidding themselves’: Supreme Court takes up abortion after saying lawmakers should decide

The court is expected to rule by Wednesday on whether to allow an earlier decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to take effect, sharply limiting access to a commonly used abortion pill nationwide.


Abortion is back before the Supreme Court just 10 months after conservative justices said they were washing their hands of the issue.

The court is expected to rule by Wednesday on whether to allow an earlier decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to take effect, sharply limiting access to a commonly used abortion pill nationwide. The lower court ruling, which the Biden administration wants paused while the legal battle plays out, would prohibit telemedicine prescriptions, mail delivery and retail pharmacy dispensing of the drug.


U.S. Supreme Court puts temporary hold on ruling that limits access to abortion drug

The decision means that, at least for now, women can still obtain mifepristone by mail as the legal battle continues.

April 14, 2023
By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked a court decision that prevents patients from obtaining the key abortion pill mifepristone by mail.

In a brief order issued by Justice Samuel Alito, the court put on hold in full a decision issued by Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that handed a sweeping victory to abortion opponents. Both the Justice Department and Danco Laboratories, which makes the brand version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, had asked the court to immediately step in.