Resource: What About the Rule of Law? Deviation From the Principles of Stare Decisis in Abortion Jurisprudence, and an Analysis of June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo Oral Arguments

By: Bridget Winkler

May 1, 2020

The right to abortion was established in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Abortions have nevertheless been systemically inaccessible to vulnerable individuals and communities for generations, and anti-abortion state legislatures and the United States federal judiciary have continued to further obstruct abortion access. This effort to undercut reproductive rights has taken on a new sense of urgency throughout the Trump Administration, as individuals with records of hostility toward reproductive rights are confirmed at record pace to lifetime positions on the federal judiciary. These appointees consistently abandon the rule of law when considering cases regarding abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court deviated from the principles of stare decisis in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (2019) and has further endangered those principles by granting certiorari in June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo (2020) to reconsider landmark precedent for abortion jurisprudence. This Article highlights how the Supreme Court consistently makes an exception to the rule of law requiring adherence to the foundational principles of stare decisis when considering abortion issues. Through an analysis of the oral arguments on March 4th, 2020, this Article argues that the Court’s decision to grant certiorari in June Medical Services v. Russo, thereby reconsidering three-year-old precedent from Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and forty-year-old precedent from Singleton v. Wulff, is an ominous sign of what is to come.

Resource Type(s):

Case Studies

Institution: UCLA Law School

Citation: 68 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 14

Related Cases:

June Medical Services LLC v. Caldwell