Supreme Court abortion case could have far wider political implications
The U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to further divide our country after oral arguments over Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
It will be months before an opinion officially issues and there could be a surprise outcome, similar to the LGBTQ equality case Bostock v. Clayton County penned by Justice Neil Gorsuch. But the comments and questions made by the conservative faction of the bench hint at upholding Mississippi’s law and potentially overturning Roe v. Wade itself.
Such a result will deepen the already considerable political rift across the country. And not just because of the hot-button nature of the abortion debate.
The core of the legal arguments rest on states’ rights, federalism and deference. If the Supreme Court finds no constitutional support for the penumbra of privacy that served as the right for women to have an abortion under Roe v. Wade, states will no longer be bound by the Supremacy Clause to allow abortions.
In turn, each state legislature will be free to decide what, if any, restrictions to place on abortion. In theory, it will be an exercise of the “laboratories of democracy” concept coined by Justice Louis Brandeis nearly a century ago when he wrote, “a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”