Chief Justice John Roberts says the Supreme Court should not have overturned Roe v. Wade.
Roberts argues that the court’s conservatives have gone too far with ending the guarantee of a federal abortion right.
He adds that a “scarier decision” would have been “significantly less troubling.”
Chief Justice John Roberts made it abundantly clear that he felt the five other conservatives on the Supreme Court went too far in their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end a federal right to abortion on Friday.
“The Court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious shock to the justice system — no matter how you
those cases,” Roberts wrote in his concurring opinion released Friday along with the majority opinion. “A scarier decision to dismiss the misguided viability line would be significantly less troubling, and nothing more is needed to settle this case. to decide.”
However, Roberts’s opinion was largely contested in the face of the united bloc of other Republican-appointed judges, including former President Donald Trump’s three picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett.
Alito wrote the majority opinion of the Court that overturned 50 years of precedent that affirmed a limited right to privacy that protected the right to abortion. As in his leaked draft advice, Alito set fire to the historic decision in Roe.
“Roe was hugely wrong from the start,” Alito wrote. “The reasoning has been exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences. Far from achieving a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have fueled debate and deepened divisions.”
Roberts has long built a reputation as a judge who prefers the court to deal more directly with the questions before him rather than write sweeping opinions that will go down in the history books. It has long been thought that this principle inspired his decision to preserve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare in the 2012 ruling that protected President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
Roberts, in his unanimity of opinion, makes it clear that he would have upheld Mississippi’s almost complete ban on abortion beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, but he repeatedly emphasizes that the overthrow of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey of 1992 will have profound consequences. Roberts called such action a “dramatic step” that Mississippi itself did not want the Court to take. (The state changed its view on the case after Barrett was confirmed in court.)
“Both the Court’s opinion and the disagreement show a relentless freedom of doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share,” Roberts wrote. “For example, I’m not sure whether a ban on terminating a pregnancy from the moment of conception should be treated the same in the Constitution as a ban after 15 weeks.”
Roberts’ preferential decision would still have severely curtailed abortion rights. Upholding Mississippi Law Without Roe. to overthrow would have limited the concept of fetal viability that the court has made the focal point of its ruling in Casey. Roberts is not an advocate of abortion rights and says he agrees that the court made a mistake in its original 1973 decision in Roe. But he emphasizes that the judges did not have to “expand the decision”.
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