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Supreme Court legitimacy at risk in abortion ban case, Northeastern legal expert says

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(Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Reproductive rights activists hold abortion rights cut out letters as oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization case are held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in a legal challenge to the Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks—a law that, if upheld by the court, would be directly at odds with Roe v. Wade. The back-and-forth between the justices and the attorneys seemed to suggest that the high court appears ready to back the state law at the expense of the watershed 1973 ruling, which upheld abortion rights and prohibited states from banning abortion before fetal viability, which is roughly 23 weeks. 

Several of the court’s liberal justices, including Sonya Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, warned their colleagues about putting politics above well-settled law. Sotomayor, at one point, asked: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”

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