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‘Roe v. Wade was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.’
Excerpts from Justice Alito’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Roe found that the Constitution implicitly conferred a right to obtain an abortion, but it failed to ground its decision in text, history, or precedent.
It relied on an erroneous historical narrative; it devoted great attention to and presumably relied on matters that have no bearing on the ‘meaning of the Constitution; it disregarded the fundamental difference between the precedents on which it relied and the question before the Court; it concocted an elaborate set of rules, with different restrictions for each trimester of pregnancy, but it did not explain how this veritable code could be teased out of anything in the Constitution, the history of abortion laws, prior precedent, or any other cited source; and its most important rule (that States cannot protect fetal life prior to “viability”) was never raised by any party and has never been plausibly explained.
Some of our most important constitutional decisions have overruled prior precedents. … In Brown. v. Board of Education, the Court repudiated the “separate but equal” doctrine, which had allowed States to maintain racially segregated schools and other facilities. In so doing, the Court overruled the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537 (1896), along with six other Supreme Court precedents that had applied the separate-but-equal rule.
Roe legislated from the bench
[Roe’s] elaborate [trimester] scheme was the Court’s own brainchild. Neither party advocated the trimester framework; nor did either party or any amicus argue that “viability” should ‘mark the point at which the scope of the abortion right and a State’s regulatory authority should be substantially transformed. … This scheme resemble[d] the work of a legislature. …
Roe certainly did not succeed in ending division on the issue of abortion. On the contrary, Roe “inflamed” a national issue that has remained bitterly divisive for the past half-century. … Indeed, in this case, 26 states expressly ask us to overrule Roe and Casey and return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives.
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