Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Roe: Invention, Overreach, Arbitrariness, Textual Indifference


Given the central role that Roe v. Wade plays in the Left’s battle to maintain control of the Supreme Court, it is encouraging that a number of today’s thoughtful liberals are coming to recognize and publicly acknowledge that Roe is jurisprudentially indefensible and deeply harmful to the proper functioning of the American political system. (There was, of course, a flurry of liberal criticism of Roe in its immediate aftermath, but political correctness silenced such criticism over the last couple decades.)

An example on the jurisprudential point is Will Saletan’s new review of Linda Greenhouse’s sympathetic biography of Justice Blackmun. Saletan concludes from Greenhouse’s account that “Blackmun’s [Supreme Court] papers vindicate every indictment of Roe: invention, overreach, arbitrariness, textual indifference.” (Oddly, Saletan’s next sentence states, “But they also implicate his critics,” even though the only supposed critic he discusses is Chief Justice Burger, who fully joined Blackmun’s opinion in Roe while also writing a separate concurring opinion.)


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