Day 521: "We dissent."
1/ In a historic reversal, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion after 49 years. The 6-to-3 decision to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban follows the leak of a draft opinion in May indicating that the court was poised to overturn Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The ruling leaves states free to restrict or ban abortions. At least 26 states – where roughly 33 million women of child-bearing age live – are expected to ban or restrict abortions, including battleground states like Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which have pre-Roe bans on abortion on the books. Georgia has a six-week ban in place. More than a quarter of the country’s 790 abortion clinics are estimated to close, and women in those states will have to travel an average of 552 miles to access the medical procedure. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 decision “was egregiously wrong from the start” and “must be overruled” because the arguments were “exceptionally weak,” “had damaging consequences,” and “enflamed debate and deepened division” Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t join the majority opinion, but instead wrote that there was no need to overturn Roe to rule in Mississippi’s favor. In dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote that the court had done damage to women’s equality and that the decision means “young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” because the court’s opinion means that “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs.” They concluded: “With sorrow — for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.” Biden, meanwhile, called the decision a “tragic error” and urged voters to elect members of Congress willing to write abortion protections into law. Speaking from the White House, Biden said: “This is a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.” (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / USA Today / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / SCOTUSblog / Bloomberg)
Key passages from the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. (New York Times)
Abortion is now banned in these states. Others will follow. Not all trigger bans immediately kick in, but abortion will soon be illegal in more than a dozen states. (Washington Post / Politico)
✏️ We’re not going back to the time before Roe – we’re going somewhere worse. We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy. (New Yorker)
✏️ America is growing apart, possibly for good. The great “convergence” of the mid-20th century may have been an anomaly. (The Atlantic)
2/ Susan Collins and Joe Manchin claimed that Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch “misled” them about their views on Roe v. Wade and the importance of Supreme Court precedent during their confirmation proceedings in 2017 and 2018. “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon,” Collins said. In 2018, Collins assured voters that she wouldn’t support a judge who had “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” saying Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – both Trump nominees – had assured her that Roe was “settled as precedent.” Manchin, meanwhile, said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the justices, adding that he “trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.” Manchin was the only Democrat to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. The Senate vote was 50-48. (The Hill / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)
3/ Trump publicly praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying the ruling “will work out for everybody.” Privately, however, Trump’s told people that he believes it will be “bad for Republicans” because the decision will anger independents and suburban women – a group who helped tilt the 2020 presidential election to Biden. (Washington Post / New York Times / Fox News)
4/ Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, called on the Supreme Court to reexamine cases allowing both LGBTQ rights as well as the right to contraception. Thomas wrote that the court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage, calling them “demonstrably erroneous decisions.” Thomas added that the court had a “duty to ‘correct the error’” established in Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodges. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / The Hill / CNBC)
poll/ 52% of Americans say overturning of Roe v. Wade it a step backward for the country. 56% of American women say the ruling will make their lives worse. (CBS News)
poll/ 25% of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Supreme Court – down from 36% in 2021 and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014. (Gallup)
- Biden signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years. The legislation comes just over a month after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 children and two adults, which came 10 days after a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, which killed 10 Black people. Biden called the legislation a “monumental day” and said it “it’s going to save a lot of lives.” (NPR / New York Times / NBC News)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.