Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Roe, precedent, and reliance

Andrew Koppelman

Supreme Court Justice Alito’s recently leaked draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade is remarkable for many reasons, not least its treatment of precedent.  Justice Amy Coney Barrett has observed that, among the reasons why courts follow their own precedents, “the protection of reliance interests is paramount.”  People make plans based on the law as they understand it, and abrupt changes in the law can upend lives.  Alito’s treatment of this issue – the extent to which women have made plans based on their ability to control their fertility – is sloppy and cavalier.  It is part of a broader tendency to make women invisible in discussions of abortion and contraception.

I explain in a new column at The American Prospect, here.

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