Roe’s toppling draft opinion begs a question: are there any other precedents?

Justice Alito dismissed this idea as “flatly precluded by our precedents” – citing a 1974 case on whether pregnancies should be covered by a state-run temporary disability insurance program and a case of 1993 on anti-abortion protesters, and quickly moves on.

The era of the Roberts court began in 2005, when Chief Justice Rehnquist died and President George W. Bush named John G. Roberts Jr. as his successor.

Later that year, Mr. Bush appointed his White House attorney, Harriet Miers, to fill the post left vacant by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. But conservatives balked because she had no written record showing her commitment to their ideology. Mr. Bush withdrew his nomination and nominated Mr. Alito instead, beginning a shift to the right.

Overall, the Roberts court was not exceptionally inclined to overturn precedent, according to data compiled by Adam Feldman, a Supreme Court scholar and creator of the Empirical SCOTUS blog.

From 2005 to last term, the Roberts court overturned precedents in about 1.47 cases per term, the fewest of any chief justice since World War II, Feldman’s data showed. Measured another way, the court overruled precedents in 2.27% of the cases it heard, a slightly lower rate than predecessors dating back to the Warren Court of the 1950s and 1960s.

But in recent years, the composition of the court has changed dramatically. Mr. Trump replaced a moderate conservative judge, Anthony Kennedy, and a liberal judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with judges considered far more likely to vote in a still-conservative direction, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

With Justice Alito, Neil M. Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, there is now a conservative supermajority on the court. And its ideologically middle justice – which in close cases determines the majority – has shifted from Justice Kennedy or Chief Justice Roberts to Justice Kavanaugh or Justice Barrett, legal scholars say, making it much more likely that decisions will be published. conservative.

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