A Landmark Decision

A Landmark Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 29 abortion decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey almost certainly guarantees that the central core of the Court’s 1973 holdings in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton will never again be in any significant danger of being obliterated or overruled by the nation’s highest court.

Activist groups on both sides of the abortion issue have a strong self-interest—financial as well as emotional—for refusing to consider whether June 29 will, in retrospect, be recognized as the final high-water mark of America’s intense struggle over whether a woman’s right to choose merits constitutional protection as an undeniable aspect of the individual liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. But Casey very likely is that highwater mark, and if indeed it is, the joint opinion for the Court authored by Justices David H. Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Anthony M. Kennedy will rightfully come to be recognized as one of the most important statements about individual rights and the judiciary’s role in affording them constitutional protection issued by the Court in this century.

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Lima