Roe v Wade: Who are the US Supreme Court justices and what did they say about abortion and other civil rights? | American News

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The constitutional right to choose abortion for tens of millions of women in America has been overturned by a group of nine people in Washington DC.

Friday’s landmark US Supreme Court ruling overturns 1973 decision known as Roe v Wade and sends shockwaves across the country, with many states already having laws in place ready to effectively ban abortion.

That puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored Roe’s preservation, according to opinion polls, although some crowds also gathered outside the building on Friday to celebrate the decision.

Obama and Trump react to Supreme Court ruling – Roe v Wade Live Updates

It also sheds light on the power of the court, an issue that has come into the spotlight in recent years after former President Donald Trump was able to profoundly shift his political leanings with three appointments.

Supreme Court justices are chosen by the president for lifetime appointments, which means the choice of just one member — let alone three in just over three years — can have consequences for decades to come. .

So who are the nine members of the United States Supreme Court, and what did they say in today’s 5-4 ruling?

Justice Samuel Alito: Appointed by Republican George W Bush in 2006. Voted to overthrow Roe.

It was Judge Samuel Alito who delivered the court’s opinion.

“Abortion presents a deep moral issue on which Americans have widely differing views,” he said in his opening statement.

He wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and should be reversed.

“We therefore believe that the Constitution does not confer the right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be struck down and the power to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Read more: Roe v Wade canceled – what happens now?

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Justice Clarence Thomas: Appointed by Republican George HW Bush in 1991. Voted to overthrow Roe.

One of those who joined Alito was Judge Clarence Thomas.

He is considered by some to be the most conservative member of the court and first voted for Roe 30 years ago.

In his separate op-ed, he explicitly called on his colleagues to bring the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage, same-sex and even contraception cases to the table.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Nominated by Republican Donald Trump in 2018. Voted to overthrow Roe.

Justice Kavanaugh, who faces FBI investigation over sexual assault allegationssaid in the decision that the US Constitution “does not prohibit abortion or legalize abortion.”

He claimed that the court’s decision does not ban abortion and “leaves the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives in the democratic process.”

Abortion rights protesters in New York carry cutouts of Supreme Court justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito
Image:
Abortion rights protesters in New York carry cutouts of Supreme Court justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito

Judges Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett: Nominated by Republican Donald Trump in 2017 and 2020. Voted to unseat Roe.

Two more Trump appointees, two more votes to unseat Roe.

Judge Neil Gorsuch was appointed at the start of the Trump administration after Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, was denied a hearing on the grounds that it was an election year.

That did not, however, stop the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett – Mr Trump’s third – in October 2020, just weeks before the US election.

Their views on today’s decision – both aimed at overthrowing Roe – were included in Alito’s comments.

Chief Justice John Roberts: Appointed by Republican George W Bush in 2005. Concurring judgment.

As Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts “agreed with the judgment” but denounced the ruling, which he said was too broad.

In his op-ed, he said he would have refrained from ending abortion rights, noting that he would have upheld the Mississippi law at the heart of the matter, an abortion ban after 15 weeks, and would not have said more.

Therefore, he says, he chose to “subscribe only to judgment”.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan: Appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton (Breyer) in 1994 and Democrat Barack Obama in 2009 and 2010. Voted to keep Roe.

The liberal wing of the Supreme Court is diminished, and the consequences were clear Friday.

“With sadness — to this Court, but more so, to the millions of American women who today have lost fundamental constitutional protection — we disagree,” they wrote.

They said that by overthrowing Roe and Casey, the court is “betraying its guiding principles”.

The effect of the decision, they argued, means: “A state can thus transform what, when freely undertaken, is a marvel into what, when forced, can be a nightmare.”

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