Tribune. Almost fifty years ago, in 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled with Roe v. Wade (1973) that abortion was a constitutionally protected right. She announced Monday, May 17 that she would examine a case that could call this decision into question. One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises in 2016 was to commit to promoting the appointment of judges opposed to abortion, especially at the top of the judiciary.
The Supreme Court of the United States, since it is the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution, indeed has immense power. It thus ruled with the judgment in Roe v. Wade that the practice of abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy was protected by the constitutional right to privacy. Even when in 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court gave the federated states the power to further restrict abortion, it maintained the ban on proscribing abortion before the threshold of viability estimated at six months of pregnancy.
The Republican candidate’s promise to support a judiciary hostile to abortion won him the support of conservative voters, even as his personal journey clashed with their traditionalist sensibilities. The white evangelists, who made up a quarter of the electorate in 2016, voted 81% for the Republican candidate.
A conservative US Supreme Court
This a priori surprising adhesion was encouraged by the maneuvers of Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republicans in the Senate. He made the composition of the Court a campaign issue by opposing, following the death of Judge Antonin Scalia in February 2016, the appointment of his replacement by President Obama. This unprecedented blockage of the constitutional process had placed the Court at the center of the presidential debate, the identity of the next president becoming crucial for the future political orientation of this institution.
The retirement of Anthony Kennedy, considered a moderate conservative, and the death a few weeks before the 2020 election of feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have finished establishing the power of the conservatives on the Supreme Court. It is therefore a clearly conservative Court which will examine, from October, a law of the State of Mississippi contrary to the jurisprudence currently in force. It prohibits abortion after fifteen weeks of pregnancy, well below the threshold of viability before which any prohibition of abortion is currently considered unconstitutional.
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