Professors: Do not make decisions based on the composition of the Supreme Court Pennsylvania News

The Supreme Court has a conservative majority of judges, but two political science professors separately said it did not in itself predict how the High Court could rule on abortion laws in Mississippi and Texas.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the 2018 law in Mississippi, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Generally, abortions are allowed until the viability of the pregnancy is widely considered for approximately 22 to 24 weeks.

In a separate trial, which is already underway, judges are considering disputes over a ban on abortion in Texas, about six weeks later. While the Mississippi case may lead to the annulment of Rowe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, the Texas case includes the structure of the law and how it can be challenged in court, not the right to choose abortion.

“It will be interesting to hear what questions conservative judges ask,” said Bucknell University professor Scott Minek.

Mine expects some Conservatives, like Judge Clarence Thomas, to be prepared to abolish Rowe altogether. Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with four liberal judges in 2020 in repealing the restrictive abortion law because of his outright violation of Supreme Court precedent, may prefer a narrower decision, Minek said.

“Judges in the conservative majority do not always agree on goals and approaches,” Mainke said. “Six conservatives may differ depending on how ready they are to move away from precedent and how quickly.”

When Rowe v. Wade was decided in 1973, there were six Republican judges in the court, including one Catholic. By definition at the time at least five were considered conservative. This time, former President Donald Trump has said he has deliberately appointed three conservative judges who support life.

However, that doesn’t eliminate the unpredictability, said Associate Professor Alison Meryl of the University of Susquehan.

“You never know how they will vote and what will affect their decision in this regard,” Meryl said.

Roberts ’vote in 2020 was surprising, Meryl said, adding that Roberts along with Trump appointees Brett Cavanaugh, Neil Gorsach and Amy Connie Barrett are not firm on pro-government restrictions.

“Based on the oral arguments in the Texas case, Gorsach was a little more supportive of maintaining Texas’ statute. It is unclear what the chief judge, Cavanaugh or Barrett, thought. Their line of questioning can support both outcomes, ”Meryl said.

Meryl explained that states cannot regulate abortion, which places an undue burden on mothers. If the court rules in favor of the relevant state laws, Merrill said it would allow state intervention earlier and earlier in the pregnancy.

Examples of overweight are the lack of surgical facilities in the abortion clinic or the presence of only one abortion clinic in the state, Meryl said. However, there is no specific definition of this term.

“The court has never determined what is an unjustified burden,” she said.

Pam Burkholder, executive director of the Women’s Expectations Center, reported that about 300 clients annually visit the organization’s offices in Lewisburg and Williamsport.

They are offered free services, including limited ultrasound and counseling. The meaning of ultrasound – to determine viability, gestational age and when the pregnancy is in the uterus.

“These are key things a pregnant woman needs to know, no matter what decision she makes,” Burkholder said.

Expectations does not make referrals to abortion clinics, however, this does not mean that some clients do not choose this path. The organization, Burkholder said, is working to provide evidence-based information to enable women and men who visit to make informed choices.

Waiting officers are closely monitoring cases similar to those currently before the Supreme Court, Burkholder said. Changing laws can cause additional stress, “if they think some of their choices can be taken away or changed.”

“I would like people to know that no matter what happens to the Supreme Court decision, there will always be unwanted pregnancies, and there will be men and women who are afraid and worried, and we will be here for them,” Burkholder said.

Both Minek and Meryl said a decision on the Mississippi and Texas cases is not expected until the end of the trial in late May or early June.

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