Elena Kagan

When legal precedent is discarded by the Supreme Court, abortion rights are threatened

When legal precedent is discarded by the Supreme Court, abortion rights are threatened

For all the scariness of fetal “heartbeat” laws in states like Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Kentucky or the near-total ban on abortion approved by Alabama lawmakers Tuesday, the bigger threat to women’s reproductive rights may have been contained in a fairly obscure Supreme Court decision regarding whether states can be sued in the courts of other states. The decision, issued Monday in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, managed something that anti-abortion advocates have been counting on since Republican presidents started packing the court with hard-right conservatives — a retreat from the principle of “stare decisis” or respect of precedent.

As Justice Stephen G. Breyer...

84°