The Abortion Decision and Civic Literacy

I had the purely coincidental experience of teaching today both Roe and Casey in my Constitutional Experience course required of all Baylor students, so there are 250 of them in my class. That in combination with my browsing of Twitter (I’m on it too much now) convinces me that this decision illustrates well that we have a profound civic literacy problem. Many on Twitter and many in my class (apparently I haven’t taught them well) seemed to think that the decision would mean the immediate stoppage of all abortions nationwide. Some on Twitter worried that this decision would have an … Continue reading The Abortion Decision and Civic Literacy

Roe and Public Opinion

The Washington Post published a poll this morning showing that a significant majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade and do not think the Supreme Court should overturn it. That says something about the intrinsic tensions of rights talk at the Court. If broad majorities support access to abortion, there is no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene. Those majorities would be reflected in legislation. The truth, of course, is more complicated: Public opinion varies notably by state. More important, the stark choices the poll offers–which distill to whether abortion should be legal or illegal–do not pick up the … Continue reading Roe and Public Opinion

Roe and the Possibility of Compromise

This essay by Jon Shields of Claremont McKenna bears reading. Its thesis is that a difficult compromise on abortion can be reached by appealing to how most Americans view the issue: namely, Americans are more comfortable with abortions early in pregnancy and likelier to endorse fetal rights as pregnancy proceeds. Significantly, an atmosphere that is at least riper for compromise coincides with the possible demise of Roe v. Wade. Roe and its progeny are the textbook cases of the Court trying to resolve a social controversy and intensifying it instead. Had the matter been left to legislatures, they would have … Continue reading Roe and the Possibility of Compromise

Roe: Considering the Counterfactual

At The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse notices an under-appreciated aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a Mississippi case that it could use to overturn or restrict Roe. v. Wade. She writes that legislators in pro-life states, who have been multiplying restrictions on abortion to test Roe, will now be accountable for them: Ever since the 2010 election ushered new Republican majorities into state legislatures, politicians there have been able to impose increasingly severe abortion restrictions without consequence, knowing that the lower courts would enjoin the laws before they took effect and save the people‚Äôs representatives from … Continue reading Roe: Considering the Counterfactual