In this universe, nobody talks about the end of nearly 50 years of national access to the right to abortion.
But here we are.
What happens if the court overturns Roe v. Wade? Mississippi is an area where the availability of legal abortion would drop precipitously if the decision was overturned. Access to abortion would not just end nationwide, but state laws would take over.
Ten states passed laws that would kick in if Roe was canceled and automatically ban all abortions. They include both the Dakotas, Idaho, and Utah, as well as a group of states stretching from Kentucky to Louisiana. And some states still have laws in place that ban abortion and which would likely resume if the case were quashed, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
What brings us to this point is not a mass movement of Americans, but rather two unexpected Supreme Court deaths, extraordinary maneuvers by then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a protest. Mississippi Court.
The Supreme Court can influence the elections. Court appointments have featured in varying degrees in each of the two most recent presidential elections, and in both cases the voters most motivated by the issue were supporters of the Republican candidate.
In 2016, the court was a motivator. There was an open siege, and the ideological influence of the court was at stake after Scalia’s death. Republicans had blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and 21% of voters said Supreme Court nominations were the most important factor in their votes, according to CNN exit polls. A majority of them chose Donald Trump. The vote was more narrowly divided between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton among those who said Supreme Court appointments were not the most important thing.
By 2020, the battle for the court had been won. Ginsburg was deceased and Barrett had solidified the new Tory majority 6-3. A smaller portion of general election voters, 13%, said Supreme Court appointments were the most important factor and they sided more closely with Trump against Joe Biden, exit polls show from CNN.
How will the tribunal work next? With a secure Conservative majority without an open seat or new justice recently upheld, the question of judicial appointments may lose some of its power for Republicans, who now have the conservative court they have long sought.
Democrats, meanwhile, have appealed to female voters at the heart of their platform and argument, and a court ruling that ends national access to abortion services would certainly reignite this particular issue for them. , although Judge Stephen Breyer’s wish is for court appointments to be less political. , no more.
Politics have a lot to do with it and will continue to do so.
Senate Minority Leader McConnell said it was “highly unlikely” that Republicans would allow a Biden Supreme Court candidate to advance if they regain a majority in 2022. That’s a tough no. as long as he can keep his party unified.
The American public in general doesn’t want Roe to be knocked down. A recent CNN review of the polls on the issue included recent national polls that showed between 61% and 69% of Americans didn’t want the previous one to end. There has been consistent majority support across the country for legal abortion since the mid-1990s.
RELATED: Most Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade, according to a survey
The story in the individual states is different. A Pew survey in 2014 suggested that more than 70% of Massachusetts residents supported access to abortion in all or most cases, but less than 40% of Mississippi residents felt the same.
Democrats have moved more than Republicans. The partisan division around abortion has grown over the past 15 years, according to CNN’s Ariel Edwards-Levy, who wrote in May that Democrats are moving more than Republicans on the issue:
What has changed is the extent of the partisan divide on the issue. Abortion has become increasingly polarized over the past 15 years, in large part because of the growing support for legalized abortion among Democrats. Between 2007 and 2021, according to Pew, the share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents supporting widely legalized abortion increased by 17 percentage points, to 80 percent, while the share of Republicans and Republicans saying the same increased. decreased by 4 points, falling to 35%.
Should Breyer retire? When Scalia died at age 79 in 2016, Democrats were dismayed at the Republicans’ ability to block Obama’s nomination and saw the possibility of a new majority of liberal judges disappear.
RELATED: Exclusive: Stephen Breyer says he hasn’t decided on his retirement plans and is happy as the first Liberal on the Supreme Court
When Ginsburg passed away at 87 in 2020, they were shocked at the Republicans’ ability to meddle with Trump’s candidate and create what could be a long generation of a strong Tory majority.
Proposals to expand the tribunal and dilute the power of the Tory majority are doomed to fail in a Senate indebted to filibuster, though Biden has appointed a commission to study the idea. That leaves anxious liberals frustrated with Breyer, who won’t throw in the towel and make way for a younger, possibly fitter justice.
No timeline for Breyer. He hasn’t been cancer-stricken in years like Ginsburg was, and he told CNN’s Joan Biskupic at 82 – energetic, jogging, meditating and on the verge of being 83. – he is now happy to be the leading Liberal on the Supreme Court and has no deadline to retire.
Dressed in shorts and sandals at his New Hampshire vacation home, he spoke to Biskupic about his satisfaction with leading Liberal judges, albeit a smaller block, at a key cases conference and dodged any sort of timetable for his departure.
Since Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, an anomaly in democratic societies, he can choose his retirement date. But he cannot choose the president or the majority in the Senate. And who knows when the Democrats will once again have a majority in the White House and Senate.
“Stephen Breyer plays checkers and Mitch McConnell plays chess. I mean the – the idea that he’s somehow preserving the tribunal by pretending that politics has nothing to do with the Supreme Court, you know, is just illusory, ”Jeffrey fumed. Toobin, CNN’s legal analyst, reacting to the interview published by Biskupic earlier this month on CNN’s “New Day”.
“This is the kind of lack of strategic thinking that has taken place among Democrats on the Supreme Court and we’ll see if that continues here,” he said.
What are Breyer’s windows? Really, the only timeline that matters right now is the one that ends in January 2023, when the next Congress meets and Republicans could take control of the Senate.
If they do, Breyer will have to wait until January 2025, when he turns 86, if he wants the possibility of a Democratic president choosing his successor.
If a Republican wins in 2024, he will have to wait until January 2029, when he will be 90 years old. And so on.
Clarence Thomas, who has been on the pitch longer than Breyer, is only 73 years old. Toobin writes for CNN that in the new Conservative majority, Thomas takes on a leadership role after being sidelined by previous courts.
“In crucial and contested cases, Chief Justice Roberts has increasingly voted with the three remaining Liberals – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. If Roberts continues on this path, it means that Thomas will be the lead judge in several 5 to 4 cases and thus enjoy the right to ascribe majority opinions, including, of course, to himself, ”writes Toobin.
He also points out that Thomas openly criticized Roe v. Wade in a 2020 opinion in which Roberts sided with more liberal judges.
“Our abortion precedents are seriously flawed and should be overturned,” Thomas wrote.
The Mississippi plaintiffs borrowed this language, swapping one word, for the bulk of their argument to overthrow Roe.
“The precedents of this court on abortion are totally wrong,” they argued this week, an open invitation to Thomas and the conservative majority to do something about it.