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Will Roe v Wade Abortion Rights Law Be Overturned by the Supreme Court?

Don Aguero

by Don Aguero in Politics News

Updated Mar 30, 2020 · 11:07 AM PDT

Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of Congress
Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of Congress. Photo by Ninian Reid (flickr)
  • Brett Kavanaugh gives conservatives a 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court
  • That puts Roe v Wade at risk of being overturned
  • Will the landmark ruling be overturned while Trump is president?

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could mark the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade. Donald Trump promised to nominate judges who would “automatically” vote to overturn the 1973 abortion rights law, and while Kavanaugh has been publicly cagey about his views on the controversial ruling, there is a good chance he’ll vote in line with his political allies if called upon.

The conservatives now hold a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, with John Roberts as the median justice. This is the moment pro-life activists have been waiting for. The Supreme Court has already overturned three decades-old rulings this term. Is Roe next to go?

Odds Roe v Wade Will Be Overturned

Will SCOTUS Overturn Roe v Wade By End Of Trump Presidency? Odds
Yes -750
No +475

It almost seems like a done deal. There are five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court, and we more-or-less know that at least four of them would vote to reverse Roe v Wade. We also know that the four Democrat-appointed justices would vote in the other direction. So the fate of the landmark decision lies in the hands of the new swing vote, Justice John Roberts.

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When asked about his views on Roe v. Wade during his Senate confirmation, Roberts said that he considered it “settled law.” That’s the same standard non-answer that both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh gave. But if we delve a little deeper into Roberts’ past, it’s clear that he opposes the ruling.

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In 1990, he penned a brief that argued that Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided and should be overturned.” And then in 2005, he led a team of lawyers who were determined to do just that. On top of that, his wife is associated with Feminists for Life, a pro-life non-profit.

Anthony Kennedy consistently voted to uphold Roe back when he was the swing vote in the Supreme Court. With Roberts now holding the deciding vote, the abortion rights law is more vulnerable than ever. It’s no wonder such short odds are being offered for the law to be overturned.

With Roberts now holding the deciding vote, the abortion rights law is more vulnerable than ever.

We still can’t be sure that Roe will be scrapped by the end of the Trump presidency, though. So there may not be that much value in picking Yes (-750). The Pro-Life movement has between two to six years to get a case to the Supreme Court in order for Yes to pay out. So while Roe may eventually be overturned, there’s a decent chance it happens after Trump leaves office.

Another plausible scenario is that Roe isn’t overturned, but abortion rights are slowly eroded through new limits and regulations to the point that access is essentially unavailable. Roe v Wade would still be the law of the land, but only in theory.

Pick: No (+475)

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