The court's message to the country in recent months has smacked of politics. Most conspicuously, the justices have repeatedly rejected requests to prevent a Texas abortion law that outright conflicts with women's constitutional rights under the 1973 Roe v. Wade. The remade conservative majority also appears ready to strike down New York gun control regulations and require state aid for religious schools in Maine. This moment has been building for years, as the politicized confirmation process delivered justices with firmer ideologies and agendas. But the court's right turn has been startlingly accelerated by the abortion-rights controversy. What makes this juncture so fraught is the politicized circumstances, the threat to precedent and the warnings from justices themselves.
Former President Donald Trump vowed to appoint justices who would oppose abortion rights and overturn Roe v. Wade, and all three of his appointees appear to be working toward that goal with speed. More than anything in recent years, the justices' actions in abortion cases from Texas and Mississippi have belied Chief Justice John Roberts' adage of 2018, in retort to Trump himself: "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges." While the Texas dispute has suspended abortion rights in that state, a pending Mississippi case would have nationwide ramifications. During oral arguments on December 1, a majority appeared ready to overturn the half-century old Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide. The justices in 1973 said the 14th Amendment's guarantee of privacy covers a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy in the early stages.