Supreme Court's liberal justices warn more rights are at stake with the end of Roe v. Wade: 'No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work'

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Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.Erin Schaff/Getty Images
  • As the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to revoke the right to an abortion, the Court's liberals wrote a dissent.

  • They argued that the conservative high court could go even further in revoking other constitutional rights.

  • "No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work," the liberal justices wrote.

As the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to revoke the constitutional right to an abortion afforded by Roe v. Wade, the Court's three liberals warned in a dissent that other rights could be on the line.

"Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today's decision is certain: the curtailment of women's rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens," read the dissenting opinion authored by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

But they warned that the opinion had implications beyond just abortion rights, pointing to the overturning of both Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and the other court decisions that rested on those precedents.

"No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work," they wrote. "The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone."

They continued: "To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation. Most obviously, the right to terminate a pregnancy arose straight out of the right to purchase and use contraception."

"In turn, those rights led, more recently, to rights of same-sex intimacy and marriage," they continued, referring to rulings overturning state bans of sodomy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case and the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case.

They also took issue with assurances from the Court's conservative justices that the ruling does not "cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion."

"But how could that be?," they wrote. "The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not 'deeply rooted in history.'"

They argued that the majority's reasoning was ultimately inconsistent.

"So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority's opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other," they wrote.

They went on to argue that the precedents set by Roe and Casey have "gone far toward defining what it means to be an American."

"We believe in a Constitution that puts some issues off limits to majority rule," they wrote. "Even in the face of public opposition, we uphold the right of individuals—yes, including women—to make their own choices and chart their own futures. Or at least, we did once."

They also took issue with the majority's reasoning that there is no constitutionally right to an abortion because no such enumerated right existed prior to 1973.

"But here is the rub," they wrote. "The law also did not then (and would not for ages) protect a wealth of other things."

They went on to list the rights to engage in same-sex intimacy, marry a partner of the same sex or a different race, to use contraceptives, and not to be sterilized without consent.

"So if the majority is right in its legal analysis, all those decisions were wrong, and all those matters properly belong to the States too—whatever the particular state interests involved," they wrote.

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider