Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Monday issued what’s being called a “warning siren” Monday, strongly suggesting landmark civil rights cases, perhaps Roe v. Wade, or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, or maybe Brown v. Board of Education are increasingly likely to be overturned by the Trump-reshaped far-right SCOTUS.
“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” Breyer wrote in a dissent of a case handed down Monday, overturning decades of Supreme Court precedent.
Here’s one civil rights attorney’s quick explanation:
Supreme Court’s decision overturning 1979 precedent on sovereign immunity is most interesting for disregard majority gives stare decisis. As Justice Breyer says: “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” https://t.co/t2eH8GRNte pic.twitter.com/Ku3CTV8Uz3
— Sasha Samberg-Champion (@ssamcham) May 13, 2019
These bills are direct assaults on Roe v. Wade. Experts know if some will become law, will get challenged, and ultimately will wind up in the federal courts – which are growing increasingly conservative – and ultimately, at the Supreme Court.
It’s important to put Justice Breyer’s warning in context. As NBC News’s Heidi Przybyla notes, “More than 300 proposals to restrict abortion have been introduced in states between January and March of this year.”
👉🏻More than 300 proposals to restrict abortion have been introduced in states between January and March of this year. https://t.co/pO1WKkYRiO
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) May 12, 2019ADVERTISEMENT
Many legal experts weighed in on Twitter, making clear Justice Breyer’s warning must be taken seriously.
Here’s CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, saying Breyer’s warning means the Supreme Court case that found women have a right to abortion is “doomed.”
— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) May 13, 2019
Professor of Law, University of Michigan School of Law:
— Nicholas Bagley (@nicholas_bagley) May 13, 2019
Former Obama White House Counsel’s Office attorney:
A Supreme Court Justice is never going to send a bigger warning siren than Breyer does in his dissent today. pic.twitter.com/uTc9gE5ZRZADVERTISEMENT
— Daniel Jacobson (@Dan_F_Jacobson) May 13, 2019
Attorney and writer at Slate:
Wow: Breyer hoists a red flag today, writing: “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”ADVERTISEMENT
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 13, 2019
Former Buzzfeed News Legal Editor:
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) May 13, 2019
President, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
The Supreme Court is on a perilous path.
We have 5 Justices who will abandon precedent and not be faithful to the principle of stare decisis.
Justice Breyer issued a dissent that makes clear the jeopardy that we are now in. He asks “which cases the Court will overrule next”? pic.twitter.com/Y1TuQXbygq
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) May 13, 2019ADVERTISEMENT
Reuters’ Supreme Court reporter:
Today, the Supreme Court overruled a 1979 precedent. Justice Breyer is clearly thinking of another 1970s precedent that might be overturned when he notes in dissent: “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next”https://t.co/L6lW4Cs6fF
— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) May 13, 2019