Thursday, April 15, 2021


Even with a 6-3 Republican majority that includes Amy Coney Barrett, there hasn't been a big Supreme ruling on abortion this term. Kate Riga of Talking Points Memo is puzzled.
The Court has had the chance to take up an abortion case for the entirety of Barrett’s tenure. It first scheduled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case centered on a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi, for conference at the end of September 2020. That case has since been relisted 18 times.

“I don’t know the record for relisting, but we have to be close,” said David Cohen, professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline law school and author of “Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America.”
At least one abortion opponent thinks anti-choicers won't get what they want this year.
At first, the assumption among the anti-abortion crowd was that the delay was innocuous: Barrett was simply getting caught up on the caseload.

Now, it’s starting to cause uncertainty.

“She’s been on the Court long enough now that I think an alternative explanation is needed,” Walter Weber, senior counsel at the Christian-based, conservative American Center for Law & Justice, told TPM....

“The Court is going to deny review, and a Justice is preparing a dissent,” Weber suggested as a possible cause for the lag. “This is, statistically speaking, the most likely explanation for any delay in announcing an order.”
I assume that the prime directive of most of the Republicans on the Court isn't to fight the right's culture wars -- it's to preserve and defend the corpocracy. They want whatever Charles Koch and like-minded right-wing billionaires want. They also want to ensure that pro-plutocrat Republicans continue to be elected, which is why they gutted the Voting Rights Act, issued the Citizens United ruling, and refused to impose limits on partisan gerrymandering.

The problem for the Court's Republicans is that, electorally, it's never really a good time to overturn (or effectively overturn) Roe v. Wade -- it will inevitably drive Democratic turnout in the next election cycle, and probably suppress Republican turnout, because the major goal of many evangelical Republicans will already have been accomplished. Maybe the Supremes will go for it in four years if Republicans have retaken Congress and the White House, but this seems like a bad time. Democrats turned out a lot of voters in November, as well as in January in the Georgia Senate runoffs. The Democratic president is popular. Republicans have a very good shot at retaking Congress in 2022, however, and the Court, or at least John Roberts and a couple of other conservatives, don't want to screw that up. And while it's unlikely that Democrats will be able to muster the votes to expand the Supreme Court, they're studying it and writing legislation to do it. Overturning Roe now could make that seem like a very mainstream idea -- or at least that's what I assume some of the GOP justices believe.

This could all change at any time. But if there really is hesitancy on the Court regarding abortion, I think it's because of the billionaires.

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