Hey Vols! I hope everyone had a refreshing Spring Break; hopefully classes starting back doesn’t have anyone too down in the dumps.
Last time I wrote about the right to counsel and how the Supreme Court ruled on a case involving the Sixth Amendment. This week I’ll discuss an issue the Supreme Court may be primed to revisit: abortion rights. Abortion rights have been a hotly debated topic ever since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wadeback in 1973.
For those who don’t know or don’t remember: In Roe, the Court ruled that a woman has the right to an abortion as it falls under the right to privacy that the U.S. Constitution allows all citizens. This was, and remains to this day, a controversial ruling as many people share extremely differing views on the subject.
Fast forward to the present, people are still debating whether or not the Supreme Court made the right decision in 1973. As many of you most likely saw, there were anti-abortion demonstrators on Pedestrian walkway this past week.
That is why it was noteworthy when, this past week, a U.S. federal court in the state of North Carolina struck down a North Carolina abortion law that had been in place since 1973, the year Roe v. Wade was decided. The court ruled that any “week- or event- specific” ban on abortions is unconstitutional; specifically, the court struck down North Carolina’s ban on abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy.
The order – or the judge’s decision in the case – does not take effect until a period of sixty days has elapsed. This gives the state time to appeal the court’s decision or to propose different legislation to take the place of the law that was struck down.
Hypothetically, if the case was appealed, the case could eventually make it back to the Supreme Court, if they chose to hear it. Many people are fearful of how the Court would rule in an abortion case, given its current composition. As there is currently a 5-4 majority of traditionally right-leaning justices, following the confirmation of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
In fact, his stance on abortion rights were one of the main contention points during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings; this was because people recognized Kavanaugh would form a majority on the court.
So, how would the Supreme Court rule if the issue of abortion was considered again?
To tell the truth, I have no idea.
I’d like to believe that Roe v. Wadewould be upheld and counted as a legitimate legal precedent. I believe Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer would see Roe as such a precedent.
However, Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Alito and Gorsuch likely would not.
The Justice I’d imagine to be the swing vote in this hypothetical case would be Chief Justice Roberts. Although Roberts typically votes with the conservative block of the court, I believe he would be hard pressed to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially given the political firestorm it would raise.
Hopefully, the case will not get to the Supreme Court; this would ensure that Roe v. Wade will remain a precedent that ensures women all over the country have the right to choose.
Kyle Mangrum is a junior majoring in Political Science. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.