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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s Warning Terrifies Liberals About Fate of Roe v. Wade

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s Warning Terrifies Liberals About Fate of Roe v. Wade

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer warned on Monday that his right-wing colleagues are threatening longstanding rulings – causing panic among liberals and especially feminists.

The court this week found that a state government cannot be subject to lawsuits filed in another state, thereby overturning a 1979 precedent. In his dissent, Breyer, 80, complained that past decisions were not being respected, putting his life’s work as a liberal justice at risk.

“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.”

Liberal analysts and activists read Breyer’s words as confirmation of their judicial nightmare: that the nationwide abortion rights enshrined in 1972’s Roe v. Wade will be overturned, too.

In addition to a number of articlelength hot takes, many commenters aired their fears on Twitter. Former Obama White House lawyer Daniel Jacobson said Breyer had sounded a “warning siren.”

Slate legal writer Mark Joseph Stern called the judge’s dissent a “red flag.”

Ilyse Hogue, the president of abortion rights group NARAL, compared it to an “assault.”

Kristen Clark, the head of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the conservative justices had shown disregard for stare decisis, or respect for precedent, putting the court “on a perilous path.”

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin repeated his prediction that the landmark ruling is “doomed.”


CNN contributor Irin Carmon said Democrats need to focus on regaining control of the Senate, which controls judicial appointments.

Actress and feminist activist Alyssa Milano urged her followers to be ‘very afraid.”

Breyer was not the first member of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing to complain about precedent. Last term, Justice Elena Kagan issued a similar warning in dissent of a ruling that overturned another 40-year old precedent involving union fees.

However, that was before Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court in November, solidifying its 5-4 conservative majority.

Since then, the left has been on death watch for nationwide abortion rights. A series of state laws passed this year to regulate abortion – and test the court’s commitment to the procedure – have only ratcheted up their anxiety.

Milano was concerned enough to last week declare a women’s #SexStrike.

Cover image: Alyssa Milano. (Screen grab)



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