Jun 29, 2018

Voters don't want Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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.

Go deeper: How the Supreme Court could start rolling back abortion rights

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39 GOP senators sign brief asking Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade

Pro-life protetsors. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

39 Republican senators and 168 representatives signed an amicus brief on Thursday asking the Supreme Court to revisit and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects the right for women to seek an abortion.

The big picture: Roe v. Wade has, since the Supreme Court's landmark decision in 1973, served as a barrier against Republicans who have sought to restrict reproductive rights. But with the court's conservative majority and Trump in the Oval Office, right-leaning lawmakers have been testing the limits of the law.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 2, 2020

Chief Justice Roberts says Americans may "take democracy for granted"

Chief Justice John Roberts in 2017. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts warned that Americans may "take democracy for granted" in his annual year-end message published Tuesday.

"[W]e have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside. In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital."
Go deeperArrowJan 1, 2020

EU opinion could shape future of EU/U.S. data-sharing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An adviser to Europe's highest court told its judges Thursday to uphold the contractual terms that Facebook and other companies rely on to transfer billions of dollars worth of data on Europeans to other countries.

Why it matters: The case's outcome will not only determine whether companies need to rethink how they protect users' privacy and data, but could also shape a deeper transatlantic divide for the internet.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019