What John Roberts' role in Texas' abortion case could signal for the future of Roe

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a razor-sharp opinion Friday emphasizing that Texas' abortion law defies Supreme Court precedent and should expose the many state officials who play a key role in the "scheme" to federal lawsuit. But the chief failed to win a crucial fifth vote for that opinion and found himself dissenting, along with three liberal justices, in a case that cuts to the core of reproductive rights and the court's own authority. "The clear purpose and actual effect of S.B. 8," Roberts wrote, referring to the Texas ban on abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy, "has been to nullify this Court's rulings."
Most significantly for women's rights, Roberts' dissent Friday suggests his efforts at some compromise in a separate abortion case of nationwide significance could falter. That controversial case from Mississippi, argued before the justices on December 1 and unlikely to be resolved until June, could lead to a broadscale reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that gave women a constitutional right to abortion at the early stages of pregnancy. The entire abortion debate at America's high court in recent months has revealed a transformation in the majority's view toward reproductive rights and Roberts' loosening grip on the bench.
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