‘Roe,’ Precedent, and Reliance — The American Prospect



Supreme Court Justice Alito’s recently leaked draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade is remarkable for many reasons, not least its treatment of precedent. Justice Amy Coney Barrett has observed that, among the reasons why courts follow their own precedents, “the protection of reliance interests is paramount.” People make plans based on the law as they understand it, and abrupt changes in the law can upend their lives. Alito’s treatment of this planning issue, and of the extent to which women have made plans based on their ability to control their fertility, is sloppy and cavalier. It is part of a broader tendency to make women invisible in discussions of abortion and contraception.

When the Court reaffirmed Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the plurality opinion cited… Read More

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