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Glossary

On the Court's decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood

Transcript
One of the cases that proved to be very controversial during my tenure on the Court and in which I ended up writing one of the opinions was the case from Pennsylvania called Casey. It involved the validity of a Pennsylvania law regulating abortion in various respects. And the abortion issue had been very difficult for the Court ever since the decision in the 1970s in Roe against Wade. In that case Justice Blackman wrote the majority opinion for the Court. And some members of the Court dissented including Bill Rehnquist, one of the dissenters in that case. And I think Byron White and so on. In any event, the Casey case again put the Court in the middle of an issue on which the American people are deeply divided to this day. Roe against Wade is not one of those cases that over time has been accepted by a large segment of American society. There are great many in the country who never accepted its holding. And Casey put the Court right back in the middle of the issue. It was very challenging to try to craft an opinion in the case. Basically, we ended up with a three member opinion, a joint opinion if you will, written by me and Justice Kennedy and Justice Souter. I think a reader of the opinion will find that we did not accept the trimester rigid framework of Roe against Wade but basically did not vote to just overturn it outright. Impose some we thought or we hoped would be reasonable limitations on the doctrine. And it was very difficult. It was not joined by Justice Blackman or Justice Brennan. However, the authors of the three member opinion hoped that it would deal more fairly with the issue.


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