Sotomayor, Supreme Court liberals sound alarm in fight to overturn Roe v. Wade

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday expressed concern {that a} bid to overturn decades-old abortion rights, if profitable, would destroy the general public notion of the excessive court docket, and thus the establishment itself.

"Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?" requested Sotomayor, one in all three liberal justices on the nine-member bench, at first of oral arguments in a case difficult Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

"I don't see how it is possible," Sotomayor mentioned.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, marks probably the most important problem to abortion rights in a long time. It facilities on a Mississippi legislation that might ban virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of being pregnant. Lower courts blocked the legislation, ruling that it violates the rights enshrined by the Supreme Court's selections in 1973's Roe and 1992's Casey.

Taken collectively, these rulings have held that states can not ban abortion earlier than the purpose of fetal viability — round 24 weeks of gestation — and that legal guidelines proscribing abortion mustn’t pose an "undue burden."

Roe, Casey and different "watershed decisions" — resembling Brown v. Board of Education, which dominated segregation unconstitutional — have created an "entrenched set of expectations in our society," Sotomayor mentioned.

"If people actually believe it's all political, how will we survive? How will the court survive?" she requested.

Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart responded that to keep away from the looks of a politicized court docket, the justices ought to attain a choice squarely grounded in the textual content of the Constitution.

Stewart argued that Roe and Casey "haunt our country," and that the precise to an abortion is just not supported in the Constitution however in "abstract concepts" that the excessive court docket "has rejected in other contexts."

The liberal justices Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer grilled Stewart concerning the justification for reversing or undermining precedent that the court docket has adopted for 3 a long time.

To overturn a longstanding precedent, "usually there has to be a justification, a strong justification," Kagan mentioned, including that views on the Roe and Casey selections haven’t considerably modified since they had been made.

The 6-3 conservative majority questioned Julie Rikelman, an lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights arguing in favor of Roe and Casey, concerning the precedent that protects abortion rights earlier than fetal viability.

"Viability, it seems to me, doesn't have anything to do with choice," Chief Justice John Roberts mentioned. "If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?"

Rikelman argued that the viability threshold balances competing pursuits and needs to be preserved.

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