May 17, 2021

"The Supreme Court on Monday set the stage for a major ruling next year on abortion – one that could upend the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade..."

"... and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the court ruled that the Constitution protects the right to have an abortion before a fetus becomes viable. The court granted review in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that (with limited exceptions) bars abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.... The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit...  reject[ed] Mississippi’s argument that the Supreme Court’s cases required the district court to determine instead whether the law creates a 'substantial obstacle' for a person seeking an abortion before the fetus becomes viable. There is no substantial obstacle, the state suggested, because a patient could decide to have an abortion before reaching the 15th week. But the Mississippi law is not merely a restriction on the availability of pre-viability abortions, the court of appeals stressed; it is a ban on pre-viability abortions.... The justices repeatedly... put off considering it at their private conference – before finally considering the state’s petition for review for the first time at their Jan. 8, 2021, conference. The justices then considered the petition 12 more times...."

Writes Amy Howe (at SCOTUSblog).

It's hard to imagine considering the petition 13 times. It seems to mean they don't want to have the take the case but also can't bring themselves to turn it away. It's so soon since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the Court is choosing to bring this divisive issue to the fore. I predict the precedent will remain intact, to the political benefit of social conservatives.

1 comment:

Ann Althouse said...

Elliott writes;

“ Hi Ann. My daughter is a neonatologist. When she began her Fellowship five years ago, the youngest viable babies were 24 weeks. Now they are 21 weeks. I am sure within a decade there will be continued advances and 15 or 16 weeks will be a possibility. If the law is required to be 21 weeks, it may be obsolete by the time the court makes a ruling next year. As you know these laws will be monstrously difficult and time consuming to change, so I believe 15 weeks is quite reasonable.”