Mulhall column: An outcome worth watching

Mulhall column: An outcome worth watching

If you hold an opinion about abortion or gun control, you may want to pay attention to the upcoming Supreme Court session. Among the cases the court agreed to hear include Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The case that will undoubtedly garner the most media attention is Dobbs, simply because it threatens not only Roe v. Wade but also Planned Parenthood v. Casey — the case that re-framed the timeline of fetal viability in terms of weeks instead of trimesters. Dobbs involves a challenge to a 2018 Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, seven weeks earlier than state laws that have withstood judicial scrutiny. The central question in Dobbs is this: Are all laws prohibiting elective abortions before fetal viability unconstitutional (violations of the right to privacy)? The Biden administration’s position on this case makes it even more interesting. In response to the Supreme Court’s acceptance of Dobbs last May, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade, regardless of the outcome [of Dobbs].” In other words, Ms. Psaki — perhaps as a nod to the “no uterus no opinion” crowd — says the president prefers to pass a federal law on abortion. If the president were somehow able to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law (assuming congressional assistance, since writing law is not within a president’s power), that law would preempt state laws […]

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