When the news broke yesterday that a draft of the pending decision on the lead abortion case now before the Supreme Court had been leaked to the media, I immediately was angered that a petty partisan had again shown such total disdain for an American institution as to have committed such an egregious and reckless act. Then I thought, of course, but isn’t the failure to deal properly with the controversy underlying this act part of the problem that entices such acts? That’s where Roe v. Wade has brought us over the past 50 years.
Now, moving on to the substance here, and there will be plenty more to come on this: If in fact the draft of the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in its final form represents the Court majority as indicated, it will reverse Roe (1973) and its companion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and send the long festering abortion issue back to the states and the people where it belongs and will provide at least a first step in restoring some semblance of civic peace to the body politic, a development that should be welcomed by all of those on the left who are worried about “our democracy”. This will be a monumental decision with enormous impact, and it will in my opinion rank with only two other instances of this level of impact in which wrongful rulings have been corrected—Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which confirmed slavery and was reversed by the Civil War and the 13th Amendment, and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which established pro-segregation “separate but equal” clauses in the law, reversed by Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As Justice Alito has written in the draft, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start….It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” This is a big deal indeed, and one that is long overdue.