The supreme court’s coming abortion ruling may spark a new era of US unrest

There’s a strong risk that the case will spark anger and violence – whether the court overturns Roe v Wade or not

Stephen Marche, The Guardian
Wed 27 Apr 2022

Civil wars don’t always begin with gunfire. Sometimes civil wars begin with learned arguments. In April 1861, Confederate forces shot on Fort Sumter, but at the time even Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, had doubts about whether the event mattered all that much. It was, he claimed, “either the beginning of a fearful war, or the end of a political contest”; he could not say which. During the decades that preceded the assault on Fort Sumter, complex legal and political fissures had been working their way through the United States, slowly rendering the country ungovernable and opening the path to mass violence.

The US is the middle of another such legal crackup, this time over the question of abortion. The courts today face the crisis American courts faced in the 1850s: is there any way to make laws for a country with furious and widening differences in fundamental values?