At his confirmation hearings, now-Chief Justice Roberts earnestly and unblinkingly insisted that his respect for the venerable principle of stare decisis would not permit him to discard well-settled precedent. And butter wouldn't melt in his mouth . . . .
Today the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, employed a tactic honed to a fine edge by Roberts's predecessor -- overrule well-settled precedent and deny, with faces straight and sober, that anything was overruled. In today's opinion, they upheld the federal ban on the dilation and extraction abortion method. I don't have time for an exegesis, but Ginsberg's spot-on dissent makes the point:
Today’s decision is alarming. It refuses to take Casey and Stenberg seriously. It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
It blurs the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.
I dissent from the Court’s disposition.
Retreating from prior rulings that abortion restrictions cannot be imposed absent an exception safeguarding a woman’s health, the Court upholds an Act that surely would not survive under the close scrutiny that previously attended state-decreed limitations on a woman’s reproductive choices.
Reuters: US top court upholds law banning some abortions
The Caucus: 2008 Candidates on the Abortion Ruling
PR Inside: ACLU and National Abortion Federation Criticize Decision
Brisbane Times: US Supreme Court decision may lead to abortion restrictions
VOA: US Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Disputed Abortion Procedure
Newslocale: Implications Of The Federal Ban On Partial-Birth Abortions
The Australian: Bush hails US court abortion decision
Christian Science Monitor: US Supreme Court allows late-term abortion ban
PRNewswire: Roberts Court Shows Its Cards: In a Stunning Reversal, Supreme Court Rules Against Women's Health, in Favor of Abortion Restrictions
NYTimes: Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Abortion Procedure
The Nation: The Politics of Supreme Court Nominations
BBC: US top court backs abortion ban
Bloomberg: Partial Birth' Abortion Ban Upheld by Top U.S. Court
AP: GOP candidates praise abortion ruling
Townhall: A Closer Look at Partial Birth Abortions
CNN: Justices uphold ban on abortion procedure
Think Progress: Breaking: Supreme Court Upholds ‘Partial Birth’ Abortion Ban
WaPo: High Court Upholds Curb on Abortion
Suburban Guerilla: Playing (Too) Nice
Slog: Justice Ginsburg’s Dissent
Linkmeister: SCOTUS, Alito and abortion
Punditbuzz: Partial Birth Abortion Ban Upheld
Mainly Politics: Right to abortion no longer guaranteed
Oliver Willis: The Left Needs To Wise Up On The Supreme Court
Martin Lewis: Abortion Ban & Virginia Massacre: Don't Forget To Thank The Nader Voters
Const. Party: Supreme Court does something right about Abortion
Galloping Beaver: Rhetoric trumps Law in US Supreme Court
Descent into Madness: Danger: Supreme Court Upholds Federal Abortion Ban
Dahlia Lithwick: Justice Kennedy Knows Best?
Edward Whelan: A Welcome Decision on Abortion
Los Angeles Times: An Unconscionable Abortion Ruling
SCOTUSblog: Court Upholds Federal Abortion Ban
Christine Todd Whitman: Carbon Ruling: A Welcome First Step
J. Fund, OpinionJournal: O'Connor & the Twilight of Affirmative Action
Boston Herald: The Supremes Off the Beam