Chief Justice John Roberts says Supreme Court went too far in taking ‘dramatic step’ to overturn Roe v. Wade | Top stories

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  • Chief Justice John Roberts said the Supreme Court should not have struck down Roe v. Wade.

  • He argued that the court’s conservative justices went too far in ending a federal abortion right.

  • He added that a “narrower decision” would have been “significantly less troubling”.

Chief Justice John Roberts has made it clear that he believes the other five conservative Supreme Court justices went too far in their Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and to end the federal right to abortion.

“The Court’s decision to overturn Roe and Casey is a serious shock to the justice system, regardless of how you view these cases,” Roberts wrote in his concurring opinion, released Friday with the majority opinion. “A narrower ruling dismissing the erroneous viability line would be significantly less troubling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case.”

Roberts’ view, however, has become largely moot in the face of the bloc of other Republican-appointed justices, including President Donald Trump’s three picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Judge Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion, which overturned nearly 50 years of precedent that the right to abortion is part of a constitutional right to privacy. As he had done in a leaked draft notice, Alito torched the landmark 1973 decision in Roe.

“Roe was completely wrong from the start,” Alito wrote. “His reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had dire consequences. And far from achieving a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey inflamed debate and deepened division.”

Roberts has long earned a reputation as a judge who would rather the court address the issues before it more directly than write sweeping opinions that sit in the history books. This principle has long been thought to drive his decision to preserve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare, in the 2012 decision that protected President Barack Obama’s iconic national achievement. .

Roberts made it clear in his concurring opinion that he would have upheld Mississippi’s nearly complete ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — the law at the center of the case was decided on Friday — but he pointed out that reversing Roe and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey would have profound effects. Roberts called such an action “not dramatic” that Mississippi did not want the court to take. (The state changed its mind on the case after Barrett was confirmed in court.)

“The Court’s opinion and the dissent display an implacable freedom of doubt on the legal question which I cannot share,” Roberts wrote. “I’m not sure, for example, that a ban on terminating a pregnancy from the moment of conception should be treated the same constitutionally as a ban after fifteen weeks.”

Roberts’ preferred decision would have further reduced abortion rights significantly. Upholding Mississippi law without overturning Roe would have limited the concept of fetal viability that the court placed at the center of its decision in Casey. Roberts said he agreed the court erred in its original decision in Roe, but added that the judges did not need to gut the decision “to the posts”.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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