Stephen Breyer’s Unique Legacy on Abortion

His Supreme Court successor should keep in mind the power of digging deep into data — and reminding all the justices how their rulings would affect real Americans.

Opinion by MARY ZIEGLER
01/28/2022

Justice Stephen Breyer is scheduled to leave the Supreme Court just as his conservative colleagues are poised to dismantle a key part of his legacy: the court’s approach to a right to choose abortion.

Breyer’s name might not immediately come to mind when anyone thinks about abortion rights. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late feminist icon, was arguably the court’s most eloquent defender of reproductive rights. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has taken on that role in the current court. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who long cast the swing vote in abortion cases, helped both to save abortion rights in 1992 and to water down protections for them, holding that abortion regulations would be unconstitutional only if they created an “undue burden.”

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/01/28/steve-breyens-supremecourt-replacement-abortion-data-00000019


California governor pushes for gun laws modeled on Texas abortion ban

SUN, DEC 12 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he plans to use a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on strict abortion curbs in Texas to design a law that would allow private citizens to sue some gun manufacturers, distributors and sellers.

The Supreme Court on Friday left in effect the Texas law that enables private citizens to sue anyone who performs or assists a woman in getting an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/12/california-governor-pushes-for-gun-laws-modeled-on-texas-abortion-ban.html


The supreme court’s abortion ruling is even more unsettling than it may seem

In allowing Texas’s outrageous abortion ban to stay in place, the court signaled that it is willing to sacrifice its own legitimacy and power in order to destroy Roe

Moira Donegan
Sat 11 Dec 2021

Don’t be fooled by the supreme court’s nominal hedging on its endorsement of SB8, the Texas abortion ban that deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who assists in an abortion after six weeks’ gestation. In a ruling on Friday, the court held that a lawsuit by Texas abortion providers could go forward – but only on narrow grounds. Only those state officials responsible for licensing medical providers may be sued, the court ordered – no one else involved in the state’s practical maintenance of SB8 is liable. The ruling said, for instance, that the providers could not sue court clerks, those bureaucrats tasked with actually docketing the lawsuits that would enforce SB8.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/11/supreme-court-abortion-ruling-unsettling


The arguments about abortion in the US are about one thing: controlling women

Anti-abortionists are intent on enhancing men’s privileges, while women cannot even have rights over their own bodies

Rebecca Solnit
Fri 10 Dec 2021

A lot of people with a lot of power don’t see why women should have jurisdiction over their own bodies. That’s the anti-abortion argument in a nutshell, in that they claim a foetus, or even an embryo, or in some cases even a fertilised egg too small for the human eye to see, has rights that supersede those of the person inside whose body that egg, embryo or foetus might be.

What was clear from the rightwing pundits and conservative supreme court justices who have piped up over the last month as arguments were being heard in the most significant abortion rights case since Roe v Wade, is that in a country whose constitution is supposed to grant us all a lot of rights, they are happy to strip away a right so fundamental it’s unimaginable in other circumstances – or that it would be stripped from other people, namely men.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/10/arguments-abortion-us-controlling-women-anti-abortionists-women-rights-over-bodies


Supreme Court thwarts bid to block SB8 on ‘dark day’ for Texas abortion rights

The justices ruled more than 3 months after allowing SB8 to go ahead.

By Devin Dwyer
10 December 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said a narrowly tailored challenge to Texas' near-total ban on abortions, SB8, could proceed in federal courts but declined for a second time to put the law on hold.

The decision, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, all but foreclosed hope for a sweeping federal court order halting SB8 enforcement in Texas, abortion rights advocates said.

Continued: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-acts-texas-abortion-law-sb8/story?id=80973461


The Supreme Court’s Texas Abortion Ruling Isn’t the Victory Many Want It to Be

Sonia Sotomayor said it best: “The Court should have put an end to this madness months ago.… It failed to do so [earlier], and it fails again today.”

By Elie Mystal
December 10, 2021

The Supreme Court today allowed some lawsuits to go forward against Texas’s six-week abortion ban, commonly known as Senate Bill 8. The majority opinion, written by Neil Gorsuch, allows abortion providers to sue a limited number of state officials and argue that the ban is unconstitutional. The decision means that lower courts will now be allowed to rule on the merits of the ban, and those lower court decisions will eventually be appealed back to the Supreme Court. The law will remain in place while that litigation plays out.

Meanwhile, in a separate, unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice against SB 8.

Continued: https://www.thenation.com/article/society/texas-abortion-ruling-supreme-court/


USA – ‘Historical accident’: how abortion came to focus white, evangelical anger

A short history of the Roe decision’s emergence as a signature cause for the right

Jessica Glenza
Sun 5 Dec 2021

Public opinion on abortion in the US has changed little since 1973, when the supreme court in effect legalized the procedure nationally in its ruling on the case Roe v Wade. According to Gallup, which has the longest-running poll on the issue, about four in five Americans believe abortion should be legal, at least in some circumstances.

Yet the politics of abortion have opened deep divisions in the last five decades, which have only grown more profound in recent years of polarization. In 2021, state legislators have passed dozens of restrictions to abortion access, making it the most hostile year to abortion rights on record.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/05/abortion-opposition-focus-white-evangelical-anger


The Mississippi Abortion Case and the Fragile Legitimacy of the Supreme Court

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an open challenge to the Court’s authority, and perhaps broadly reflects a spirit of legal self-help that is running through the land.

By Jeannie Suk Gersen
December 4, 2021

The legal landscape of the past weeks and months has prompted questions of which people and entities are legitimate interpreters and enforcers of the law and what happens when you take the law into your own hands. Mississippi and other states took the recent changes in personnel on the Supreme Court as an invitation to defy the Court’s constitutional rulings on abortion, and those states now seem likely to prevail.

During oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, last Wednesday, the three liberal Justices often seemed to be delivering dirges, as though they had accepted a loss and were speaking for posterity. Mississippi’s ban on abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy, which boldly flouts the Court’s precedents setting the line at around twenty-four weeks, is likely to be upheld by the conservative Justices.

Continued: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/12/13/the-mississippi-abortion-case-and-the-fragile-legitimacy-of-the-supreme-court


Conservatives Are Tearing Down Roe. That’s Extreme — and Just the Beginning

What makes you think a movement this extreme would stop at erasing a woman’s right to choose?

By ALEX MORRIS , Rolling Stone
December 4, 2021

Listening to the oral arguments this week in
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one thing seemed abundantly
clear: Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned. This was clear in Chief Justice
John Roberts’ line of questioning, as he lamely tried to get his conservative
colleagues to stick to the Mississippi law’s original (unconstitutional)
15-week ban rather than considering a full overturn of Roe that the state
started pushing for as soon as Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed. It was
clear when Barrett inanely skirted the issue of forced pregnancy and childbirth
by reassuring the court that “safe haven” laws still allowed women to give
their babies up for adoption. It was especially clear when Justice Brett
Kavanaugh began suggesting that the Constitution is “neutral on the question of
abortion” and enumerating cases in which precedent has been overturned. Based
on their line of questioning — and to the extent that it is predictive — a
majority of justices demonstrated not only a willingness to overturn Roe but
some prior consideration of how to justify doing so. Whether Dobbs is the case
that will finally mark the end of the constitutionally protected right to an
abortion (and we probably won’t know until June or July), it is clear that the
end is coming soon.

Continued: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/roevwade-dobbsvjackson-abortion-lgbtq-rights-1266062/


The Supreme Court Gaslights Its Way to the End of Roe

Dec. 3, 2021
By Linda Greenhouse, Contributing Opinion Writer

There are many reasons for dismay over the Supreme Court argument in the Mississippi abortion case, but it was the nonstop gaslighting that really got to me.

First there was Justice Clarence Thomas, pretending by his questions actually to be interested in how the Constitution might be interpreted to provide for the right to abortion, a right he has denounced and schemed to overturn since professing to the Senate Judiciary Committee 30 years ago that he never even thought about the matter.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/opinion/abortion-supreme-court.html