Sotomayor began by noting that in the past 30 years no fewer than 15 justices of all political backgrounds had supported the right to an abortion up to the point of fetal viability. Only four had objected.
Now after so many years of relative consensus, the legality of abortion enshrined in the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v Wade and reaffirmed in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v Casey was suddenly on the line.
The Supreme Court’s brace of rulings today are thoroughly emblematic of the two justice’s disrespect for all three legal principles. In Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, Roberts and Alito voted to overturn a nearly century-old decision preventing manufacturers from setting a minimum price retailers may charge for their products.
The decision by Alito and Roberts to overturn this long-established precedent is particularly remarkable because the case involves interpretation of a statute. The Court is particularly committed to stare decisis in statutory cases because Congress can amend a statute if it thinks the Court has erred in its interpretation.This disregard for precedent may be a historic first. Breyer asserts in dissent: “I am not aware of any case in which this Court has overturned so well-established a statutory precedent.”