WDIO In-Depth: the Supreme Court rulings

[anvplayer video=”5119129″ station=”998130″]

It’s been all eyes on the Supreme Court since last week’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Mariam Mackar sat down with Dr. Cindy Rugeley, Professor and chair of the Political Science department at UMD to talk through reactions to the court’s decision and what it could mean for the future of public opinion.

Q: How does overturning this precedent affect other cases that are completely separate from abortion rights?

"Well, when Roe was ruled on in 1973, it was under the right to privacy. There are other cases. The first case deal with that was Griswold versus Connecticut that dealt with birth control. And it’s not explicitly in the Constitution that there is a right to privacy. It’s implicit in three or four provisions in the bill of rights.

And so also under that is it’s decisions that allow intimacy between gay couples and also the Obergefell case, which allowed for gay marriage, that were also decided under similar provisions under the 14th Amendment."

Q: How will controversial rulings like this one, and more if they come up, going to affect approval ratings for the Supreme Court?

"Well, you can see that there’s already been a drop. And a lot of people, judicial scholars have expressed a concern about this. About what this will do to the legitimacy of the court. If the court is perceived as political actors, then it’s really disruptive."

Q: And why is it important that the public uphold a high perception of the Supreme Court?

"It’s just so key to our representative democracy. I mean, it’s seen as part of our checks and balances system. And where we are right now, a lot of that is already under threat. And so that’s a big part of it, really. The court has no authority in that it can’t send out the troops. It can’t issue a budget line. And so if it went far enough, and I’m not saying it will, then people could just choose to ignore the court."

Q: How does overturning a landmark case like Roe versus Wade, which many justices during their confirmation hearings said it was essentially law, affect other landmark cases?

"They have reversed precedent before, courts have, in some very celebrated cases. This one is different in the fact that it did reverse what is perceived as a right, a right for a woman to have an abortion. And what that means is in Texas, women have less rights than women in Minnesota. And so that brings into question all of these other cases, and will they have the freedom to do that?"