On Dec. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority will begin the first phase of its first big test — and it will likely draw intense media and political scrutiny along the way.
That’s because, according to Fox News, SCOTUS will begin to hear arguments in a controversial Mississippi abortion ban passed earlier this year. The state passed legislation that effectively bans most abortions after the 15-week mark of a pregnancy, which is much lower than the standard set in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Court observers and legal experts will keep a close eye on the case, as some believe the outcome could have a drastic effect on Roe, if not overturning it altogether, which would mark a monumental victory for pro-life advocates.
The case, which will likely become commonly known across the country, is known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
What’s the issue?
The primary question that will be considered by SCOTUS is whether or not state laws that enact bans on pre-viability elective abortions are unconstitutional in nature.
“Mississippi officials are boldly asking the court to overturn its 1973 Roe precedent, where abortions are legal nationwide until about the 24th week– the point of viability where the fetus can survive outside the womb,” Fox News noted.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic open in the state — which also happens to be backed by the Biden administration — has asked the high court to strike down the Mississippi abortion ban.
The organization, unsurprisingly, has also asked the Supreme Court to uphold its original Roe decision from 1973.
What could happen?
Pro-life groups and politicians are hopeful that the Supreme Court completely strikes down Roe and reshapes the future of abortion access. While that’s a possible outcome, some legal analysts believe the final decision could be much more complicated.
While many believe that former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented opportunity to change the political makeup of the high court and influence these types of cases was a slam-dunk, many believe that there are no guarantees.
“I’m sure that the chief justice would rather go fairly slowly. That tends to be his inclination in these situations,” Paul Smith, a Georgetown University law professor and appellate attorney with vast Supreme Court experience said.
The professor added: “But there will be some justices who are impatient to get to the final determination of the validity of Roe. I could imagine a situation where you have three liberals saying those should be upheld; three saying we don’t need to address that question yet; and three saying it obviously should be overruled.”