Kavanaugh writes about "erroneous precedents" and mentions Roe. v. Wade in Supreme Court decision

by Laura Mize · Apr 22nd, 2020 11:43 am

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has mentioned Roe v. Wade in his writing about "erroneous precedents" for a recently decided case not involving abortion.

Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion in the case Ramos v. Louisiana, which was decided Monday. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, which struck down Louisiana and Oregon laws that allowed non-unanimous juries to convict people of serious crimes.

Kavanaugh's concurring opinion delved into the principle called stare decisis, which often guides judges to rule in keeping with legal precedent. While Kavanaugh noted the usefulness of stare decisis, he also wrote that it "does not mean, of course, that the Court should never overrule erroneous precedents. All Justices now on this Court agree that it is sometimes appropriate for the Court to overrule erroneous decisions."

He named two major abortion cases: the 1973 case that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade; and a 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The latter case struck down some of the non-central tenets of Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh's opinion also included a discussion of how judges might approach erroneous precedents, such as considerations of whether "the severity of the jurisprudential or real-world consequences caused by the erroneous decision and, therefore, whether the decision is worth overruling."

? Conservatives have been hopeful that the addition of conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch to the Supreme Court may lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned.


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