Supreme Court Justice Breyer Just Issued an Ominous Warning About Judicial Threats to Roe

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”

Olivier Douliery / AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

When the Supreme Court voted Monday to overrule 40-year-old precedent in favor of political belief, Justice Stephen Breyer used his dissent to issue a warning about potential judicial challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that affirms a woman’s right to an abortion.

In Monday’s case, Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overrule Nevada v. Hall, a 1979 decision that allowed an individual to sue a state in the courts of another state. While the conservative judges voted in favor of states’ rights, Breyer argued that “stare decisis requires us to follow Hall, not overrule it.”

In his dissent, Breyer cites Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that upheld Roe v. Wade on the basis of precedent. Then, Breyer issued what many are viewing as a warning given recent legislation restricting abortion in states such as Ohio and Georgia, calling the disregard for states’ right precedent “dangerous.”

“The majority has surrendered to the temptation to overrule Hall even though it is a well-reasoned decision that has caused no serious practical problems in the four decades since we decided it,” Breyer wrote. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate