It’s no secret that the Supreme Court’s recently decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Meaning that abortion is no longer seen as a “constitutionality protected right”.
Further Justice Thomas in his opinion suggested the Court should look at overturning other cases.
Cases which have similarly inferred the other rights not mentioned directly were still constitutionally protected.
But what could this shocking decision foreshadow about the future of the Supreme Court and American law?
Crazier still, how does this decision tie into an odd phenomenon of the Supreme Court rescinding power to the states?
Well, for all that in more, simply keep reading…
Q & A What does an Overturned Roe v. Wade Show us about the “Thomas Court”?
To get more insight into the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and what that decision might foreshadow about the future of the Thomas Court, I reached out to Christopher Collins. An attorney with Yugo Collins PLLC to find out more about how Roe v. Wade may impact future Supreme Court rulings…
What impact will this new precedent have on future court decisions?
“Essentially, the fight has moved from the Supreme Court to each individual state.”
Q: With the recently overturned decision of Roe v. Wade, many are wondering What impact will this new precedent will have on future court decisions?
Collins: “The Dobb’s decision will act as a precedent for future court decisions, just as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey did before. However, as we saw with those decisions, merely because something is a precedent does not mean its holding will never be questioned or ultimately reversed. Dobbs will almost certainly remain controlling law so long as the court retains its current composition. That means the Supreme Court will not prevent states from passing laws regulating abortion. Essentially, the fight has moved from the Supreme Court to each individual state.”
“There was also some language in Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion suggesting the cases whose logic underpinned Roe v. Wade should be revisited, as well. Those were cases finding a general right to “privacy” in the U.S. Constitution. Over the years, the Supreme Court had extrapolated down from this general right to “privacy” to find specific rights (such as the right to abortion, contraception, and gay marriage) that were bound up in that general right to “privacy.” If a majority of the Court were to adopt that position, it would call those rights into question, as well. For now, however, only one justice has adopted that position and it would require five to overturn those prior opinions.”
Does the overturned Roe v. Wade opinion foreshadow how the court will handle future cases?
“This opinion demonstrates the conservative majority on the Court is willing to revisit a number of legal principles that many on the left have presented as “settled law.”
Q: According to the court’s new opinion, the original Roe v. Wade opinion incorrectly inferred a ‘constitutional right to abortion’. And that the Supreme Court essentially overstepped its boundaries in making its decision. Does the overturned Roe v. Wade opinion foreshadow how the court will handle future cases?
Collins: “This opinion demonstrates the conservative majority on the Court is willing to revisit a number of legal principles that many on the left have presented as “settled law.” The same week Dobbs was announced, the Court announced an opinion on gun rights which many analysts believe expanded the 2nd Amendment to hold for the first time that the right to bear arms extends outside the home. It also struck down a state provision which prevented state funds from being provided to religious institutions, holding that demonstrated hostility to religion. While these two cases followed the recent pattern of expanding 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, they nonetheless demonstrate this Court’s willingness to take on controversial issues.”
Will the Roe v. Wade opinion cause other cases to be overturned?
“Some have suggested Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which legalized same-sex marriage across the country, could be at risk of also being overturned.”
Q: Are there other Supreme Court cases that may be overturned with the same reasoning used to overturn Roe v. Wade?
Collins: “Some have suggested Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which legalized same-sex marriage across the country, could be at risk of also being overturned. Obergefell is a much more recent decision, meaning there is less precedential value attached to it than was attached to Roe. It was also a 5-4 decision, meaning only 1 vote would need to switch to reverse it. 3 of the 4 justices who dissented in Obergefell are still on the Court, so opponents might be able to count on them. 3 of the 5 justices who were in the majority are still there, as well, so they almost certainly would vote to uphold Obergefell. The remaining 3 were appointed by President Trump and are considered some of the most conservative justices on the Court. Given those facts, it might appear Obergefell’s days are numbered.”
“However, unlike with abortion, the national consensus has trended strongly in favor of gay rights generally and same-sex marriage in particular since Obergefell was decided. Chief Justice Roberts, who dissented in Obergefell, would likely vote to uphold it now. That means all 3 of the newly appointed justices would have to vote to overturn it. That is extremely unlikely. Nonetheless, if the logic from Dobbs were extended to Obergefell, the Court could return the issue to individual states to regulate.”
“The non-delegation doctrine is another principle that may be revived by this Court. It would require Congress to provide more definite direction to agencies that exercise rule-making authority. That would curtail the power of a number of federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Does the Roe v. Wade decision lead to a less powerful Supreme Court?
“Not at all.”
Q: Does this decision lead to a ‘less powerful’ Supreme Court?
Collins: “Not at all.”
“This Court will likely issue the most significant opinions since the Earl Warren Court in the 60s and 70s. Efforts to “pack the Court” are almost certain to fail. President Roosevelt tried that in the 30s and suffered incredible backlash. He was much more popular than President Biden and had much larger majorities in Congress.”
“The Senate would have to approve any such plan and it is currently divided 50-50. Several Democrat senators, including Sen. Manchin of W. Va., have announced they would vote against any bill that aimed to pack the Court. Conceivably, the numbers in the Senate could shift toward the Democrats after the November elections.”
Will this decision impact decision made by ‘lower’ courts as well?
“Under the Supremacy Clause, all opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court must be honored as the supreme Law of the Land.”
Q: Will this decision impact decision made by ‘lower’ courts as well?
Collins: “Absolutely. Under the Supremacy Clause, all opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court must be honored as the supreme Law of the Land. Just as states which opposed abortion were required to defer to the Court’s holding in Roe, states which support abortion must defer to Dobbs. Fortunately for those states, however, they have complete control over how abortion will be regulated within their borders. While Roe required all states to allow abortion, Dobbs did not outlaw abortion anywhere. It merely allows states to regulate the practice, as they did prior to Roe. A lower court could not strike down a state law regulating abortion as “unconstitutional,” though. Prior to Dobbs, those courts would likely have done so because they would have been required to follow the Roe precedent.”
The Future of American Law Under the Thomas Court
Looking forward it will be interesting to see how the overturning of Roe v. Wade will impact other cases.
Thank you to Christopher Collins of Yugo Collins for taking the time to provide his insight into what impacts this decision may have on the future of the Thomas Court.
However, in my opinion, I disagree with Coillin’s on one point.
And that this decision does not lead to a ‘less powerful’ Supreme Court. Although in all fairness he took a different approach to the question than I intended.
In my experience, I have been witnessing a strange trend under the Biden administration. And that is an unusual surrendering of assumed governmental power at the federal level.
Allow me to explain.
Essentially, Roe v. Wade being overturned through the Dobb’s decision, at least in my opinion, is essentially the Supreme Court rescinding its “authority” to grant unwritten constitutional rights through interpretation.
But Roe v. Wade isn’t even the beginning. The Supreme Court under what appears to be the direction of the Biden administration, recently refused to hear a recent appeal by Bayer. The appeal was in regards to the lawsuits over Roundup exposure they have faced over the health risks associated with the product.
More specifically the issue the lawsuit brought forth was in regards to whether or not California could force the infamous “this product is known to the state of California to cause cancer” label.
Because the Supreme Court refused to hear the issue, the issue is essentially left the the individual states. Meaning theoretically that each state can now set the standards for labeling and pesticide usage that it sees fit.
The Future of American Law Under the Thomas Court
The Thomas Court has shown itself to be strong in June 2022.
And to agree with Collins; this court will likely issue the most significant decisions since the Warren Court. But what I have seen so far is that it will be a rescinding of federal power, not a transference of power to the Supreme Court as seen in the previous decades.
However, only time will tell what the fruit of the decisions brought forth by the Thomas Court will yield.