In an outlandish breach of Court confidentiality, a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court on the 49 year old Court decision Roe vs. Wade (410 U.S. 113) making abortion legal in the United States, has reinvigorated deep discussion of this delicate medical, philosophical and emotional issue and pushed it to the front burner of politics in America.
The decision in the pending case currently before the Court (Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) will become final when all Justices have had a chance to review it and create their own opinion, if they choose, concurring, dissenting or concurring – in part. Supreme Court decisions are binding on all federal and state courts (unless the Court itself moves the issue back to the states – as proposed by Justice Alito’s draft). The ability to over-rule a U.S Supreme Court decision is very limited. One way is for the Court itself to do it, as may happen here by over-ruling the Roe decision. Another way is for Congress to act with a statute – as proposed by this Democrat controlled Senate (but failed to pass recently). An act passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, to be binding on the Supreme Court, still has to pass constitutional muster and not be declared unconstitutional.
If, as many people predict, this Supreme Court overrules Roe and if the Congress then acts (assuming it can get the votes which is questionable under the current Senate, the Supreme Court will inevitably get another bite at the abortion apple –and may rule the new law is not constitutional – in keeping with their decision – when it comes.
Speculation on how Justices will vote has created no shortage of opinion in coffee shops, bars, on broadcast sources, on social media, in print and here!