Abortion rights are in the balance with Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement from the Supreme Court, but most voters want the high court to keep abortion legal, according to polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey was conducted before Kennedy announced his retirement.
Why it matters: The Supreme Court isn't responsive to public opinion in the same way the elected branches are, but it does often try not to get too far ahead of public opinion — especially under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, who's known for his concern for the court's institutional standing.
Abortion rights will also be the No. 1 issue for the Democrats gearing up to fight President Trump's nominee, even without enough votes to block him or her.
Between the lines: Public support for abortion rights helps explain why a post-Kennedy court is likely to chip away at abortion rights incrementally, rather than immediately taking on Roe v. Wade.
- If a more conservative court does begin to roll back abortion rights, it would almost certainly start by upholding state-level restrictions like bans on abortion after a certain point in a pregnancy, or prohibiting specific types of abortion procedures.
The intrigue: This isn't really about health care, but The New York Times has a good story on the family connections and not-so-subtle lobbying the White House deployed to push Kennedy toward the exit.