President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would solidify a 5-4 conservative majority if he were confirmed.
This makeup of the court has many pro-abortion-rights activists concerned that abortion access and even the landmark case Roe v. Wade could be in danger.
Legal experts, however, told Business Insider the more likely scenario is for the court to slowly chip away at abortion access one decision at a time.
The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy would solidify a solid 5-4 conservative majority on the court, and it has some pro-abortion rights advocates worried about what that majority could mean for cases regarding reproductive rights.
Pro abortion-rights groups are particularly concerned by one Kavanaugh’s previous rulings. Last year, as part of a three-judge panel decision in Garza vs. Hargan for the Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh ruled to invalidate a previous court order mandating that an undocumented, unaccompanied teenager in government custody be allowed to leave custody to obtain an abortion.
His panel’s decision gave the government additional time to find an adult sponsor for the teen, but that decision was eventually overruled by all the judges of the District of Columbia circuit, where Kavanaugh dissented.
In addition, Kavanaugh’s handed down a concurring opinion in the 2015 case Priests for Life v. HHS, in which the Appeals Court for District of Columbia circuit upheld accommodations for faith-based nonprofits to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include contraception in the insurance plans they offer to employees.
In a Monday night statement, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens warned that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would spell the end for Roe v. Wade.
“We already know how Brett Kavanaugh would rule on Roe v. Wade, because the president told us so,” she said. “We take Trump at his word that Brett Kavanaugh would overturn Roe v. Wade and get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”
Experts say it might be more complicated
Legal experts, however, aren’t convinced that Kavanaugh’s presence alone would automatically lead to the overturning of Roe and the 1992 landmark case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which upheld large parts of Roe and ruled that states cannot impose an “undue burden” on patients seeking abortion.
“I do not think it particularly likely that Roe (and Casey) are likely to be overturned based on this one appointment,” Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School and constitutional expert told Business Insider in June. “I find it hard to think that [Chief Justice] Roberts — who has a more long-term view of the arc of the court and a desire to preserve its institutional role — would facially overrule Roe.”
Cohen thinks the more likely scenario is for the majority-conservative Supreme Court to incrementally chip away at abortion access with a series of rulings, a strategy some call “death by 1,000 cuts.”
Source:: Business Insider