(NewsNation) — Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that protects abortion rights, isn’t the only hot button issue on the Supreme Court’s docket this year.
The justices are also expected to take up affirmative action, gun control and religious liberty.
So, what could a potential decision on abortion mean for future cases? NewsNation’s Nichole Berlie questions legal analyst Dr. Laura McNeal:
Q: Justice Alito says in his draft opinion provisions in the Constitution dealing with privacy should not apply to the right to an abortion. So tell us what could that mean, for other cases, rooted in the same privacy principle like Obergefell v. Hodges that gives same sex couples the right to marry? That’s just one example.
A: Justice Alito, in this draft opinion, made it very clear, he explicitly said that the right to abortion does not fall into the same category of those other protected fundamental rights, such as the right to marry, excuse me, the right to same-sex marriage. And so he’s trying to, in stating that, say listen, those are essentially off the table. Those are what in law we call a concept of ordered liberty, meaning those rights are not something that’s going to be challenged, anything we should be concerned about. The question is whether or not that is indeed the case.
Q: Should people on all sides of the abortion debate be concerned about the potential implications of an overturned ruling when it does come to those future decision by the highest court in the land?
A: I think they should be concerned and this is why: The whole value or concept behind precedent, is it is supposed to be a collective understanding of people’s rights, a collective understanding amongst our country, regardless of your political affiliation. So they’ll have that collective understanding that the right to abortion has been in place for 50 years. And then to have that suddenly, potentially, again, it’s not the final opinion, overturned? It’s natural for people to be concerned. As a legal scholar, I am concerned. You know, in one sense, you can say this is a crisis of rights. What’s next, what next fundamental right will be taken away? But in the other sense, people are saying, if it’s not explicitly listed in the Constitution, meaning the right to abortion, it should not be constitutional. And so a very murky issue, very divisive, as you can see. And really, the truth is, no one really knows or even us as legal scholars, we just have to wait and see.
Q: What comes next for the Supreme Court here? How will this leak impact not only the final decision, but the court itself?
A: I think this leak is devastating for the court, because what it does is it undermines the public’s sense of integrity in the court. And they have to go back and figure out through this investigation that the chief justice said he will lead find out where this leak came from, because they have compromised with this leak the integrity of the court wishes and means the public opinion the public trust in our highest court, that is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. So if you lose integrity in the Supreme Court, really you are undermining our democracy, the very fabric of our country.