Stephen Breyer on Abortion
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Clinton 1994)
The vote signaled that a majority of the justices have doubts about the constitutionality of the LA law, which requires any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Plaintiffs argued that it was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016, in which the court said Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing them any medical benefits. It was the most important abortion ruling in 25 years and blocked similar restrictions in AL, MS, OK, TN, and WI.
Plaintiffs said Louisiana's law would leave only one doctor at a single clinic in New Orleans to perform the procedure
Others, like Justice Breyer, insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far--that on the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account.
I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution--that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.
I see democracy as a conversation to be had. According to this conception, the genius of Madison’s design is not that it provides a fixed blueprint for action. It provides us with a framework and rules, but all its machinery are designed to force us into a conversation.
OnTheIssues explanation: The court did not rule against "parental notification" in general; in other words, states can decide if and when a minor girl's maternal health is the higher priority (a pro-choice stance); justices in the minority say that parental notification has the higher priority (a pro-life stance).
Opinions: O`Connor wrote majority opinion; all 8 other justices concurred.
On the subject of partial-birth abortion, it was altogether natural that the writing assignment fell to Justice Breyer (made by the senior justice in the majority, Justice Stevens) to write the deeply controversial majority opinion invalidating the state law prohibiting the procedure. No one else would so likely win the vote of Justice O'Connor (to the dismay of Justice Kennedy) on this wrenching subject.
|Other Justices on Abortion:||Stephen Breyer on other issues:|
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
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