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In the News

Abortion rights USA

Mike McCartney

3rd May 2022

The SCOTUS is back in the headlines again

Students of US politics will know that the Supreme Court is the world's most powerful judicial body, wielding power way in excess of what the Framers of the US Constitution could have imagined back in the long hot summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. Far from being the "least dangerous branch of government" (Hamilton, Federalist 78), the court has an impact of public policy that makes in many cases, a much bigger difference to the lives of citizens that the Congress, and yet it is entirely unelected. This has led some scholars to dub it a "super legislature".

And so here we are.

According to the Guardian:

"A draft supreme court opinion, apparently by the conservative justice Samuel Alito, was leaked to Politico for a story published late on Monday. It appears to show that the court is preparing to rule in favour of Mississippi in a case over whether the state can outlaw nearly all abortions at and after 15 weeks gestation – a direct challenge to the guarantee of abortion rights enshrined in Roe v Wade.

The 98-page document, which includes 118 footnotes and a 31-page appendix on historical state abortion laws, was published in full. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” it says. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

It says Roe v Wade “must be overruled” and goes on: “It is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”"

Unsurprisingly, the news has sparked outrage throughout the USA. See videos below.

First, to the BBC for some excellent, and really simple guides.

What is Roe v Wade?

Who sits on the SCOTUS?

Who could most be affected by changes in abortion rights?

Protests throughout the USA...

p.s., the case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (or just 'Dobbs' for short).

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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