Opinion | Yes, Justice Sotomayor, the Court Will ‘Survive’

According to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, it is not only, perhaps not even primarily, the right of a woman to control her own body, or the right of a developing human being to life, that is in question in the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. At stake is the reputation—no, the very survival—of the Supreme Court.

Justice Sotomayor noted that state legislators who sponsored another restrictive abortion law mentioned that the time was ripe for a challenge to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey because “we have new justices”—five Republican appointees who’ve joined Justice Clarence Thomas since the court decided Casey in 1992. “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked. “I don’t see how it is possible. . . . How will we survive? How will the court survive?”

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