HOUSTON — Why are legal experts concerned that overturning Roe v Wade could affect other Supreme Court rulings?
The draft opinion on Roe v Wade that was leaked is not a final decision, according to the Supreme Court. But it does signal a seismic shift in American law.
The initial draft opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, and while it would overturn Roe v Wade, it also mentions two other Supreme Court decisions, making some worried that those rulings are at risk as well.
The first ruling Alito cited was Lawrence v Texas. That 2003 landmark decision was based on a Harris County case. A gay couple was arrested for violating the state’s anti-sodomy law.
The Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to regulate private activity between consenting adults, striking down the Texas law.
But Texas never repealed that law. It just wasn’t enforceable because of the Supreme Court decision. If that decision is overturned, then it once again becomes enforceable.
The other ruling Alito mentioned was the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
While Alito wrote that nothing in the opinion should cast doubt on anything not related to abortion, he also added that these rights are not deeply rooted in American history. That's his same argument for why Roe v Wade needed to be overturned.