Yet where Brown secured the rights, of course, Dobbs eliminated them.
The 67-year-old chief justice, who is completing his 17th session, confessed to a rare lack of confidence.
“The Court’s opinion and the dissent display an implacable freedom of doubt on the legal question which I cannot share,” he wrote. Referring to the contested Mississippi law at the heart of the Dobbs case, he added: “I’m not sure, for example, that a ban on terminating a pregnancy from the moment of conception should be treated as same manner under the Constitution as a ban after fifteen weeks.”
Roberts, who pushed hard for conservative results on race and religion, had tried to move incrementally here. He tried to split the difference, upholding the disputed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but not confronting Roe.
“I would take a more measured course,” he wrote and urging – to no avail – for some judicial restraint, said: “If it is not necessary to decide further to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide further.”
Yet even though Roe’s overthrow represents a significant defeat for Roberts and is a singular and stunning moment for the country, the leader is down but not out. The 2005 appointee of Republican President George W. Bush generally remains on the winning side of this ideologically unbalanced bench.
Roberts has taken the lead against racial remedies, deeming them both obsolete and unconstitutional, and authored Shelby County’s subsequent 2013 decision against Holder, reducing voter protections, particularly in the South and in other places with a history of discrimination at the ballot box.
These last three judges were appointed by former President Donald Trump, and their mere presence had encouraged Mississippi officials to seek an expansive ruling in a case that was originally limited to the validity of the 15-week ban. .
In doing so, they wrote, “this Court betrays its guiding principles”. They said they felt sorry for the court itself, but more “for the many millions of American women who today have lost fundamental constitutional protection.”
The right is tired of waiting for “another day”
Roberts’ fate on the losing side of Dobbs was heralded last year when he sharply dissented as the same five conservatives who controlled the Mississippi dispute allowed Texas to enforce a six-year abortion ban. weeks, known as SB8.
“The clear objective and actual effect of SB 8 has been to overrule the decisions of this Court,” including Roe v. Wade, Roberts wrote last December as the five justices approved the Texas ban they had first allowed to take effect on September 1.
It was a sign that the tactical and usually persuasive chief justice, who himself criticized abortion rights, was outmaneuvered by a quintuple who wanted to go further, faster.
Roberts had offered a limited resolution during oral arguments last December, but apparently never had any real momentum against the anti-Roe five. There was no sign in the opinions published on Friday that those who had joined Alito had hesitated to think that “Roe had been gravely mistaken from the start. His reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision had adverse consequences.”
Kavanaugh, who at times joined Roberts in the compromise, stuck to a line of argument he tried in closing arguments that overturning Roe puts the court in a ‘position of neutrality’ on the abortion dilemma. .
Roberts declined to respond to this claim in his concurring opinion, but dissenting justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote that eliminating the right to abortion “does not take a ‘neutral’ position”.
Roberts sought to “leave for another day if any abortion rights were to be rejected”.
Alito dismissed that possibility, saying that “‘another day’ would soon come. Some states have shorter abortion deadlines than Mississippi.”
He said that “Roberts’ quest for a middle way would only delay the day when we would be forced to face the issue we are now deciding. The turmoil caused by Roe and Casey would be prolonged. That is much better – for this Court and the country – to deal with the real problem without further delay.”