The US Supreme Court is one of America’s greatest institutions.
For almost 250 years it has interpreted the remarkable document that is the United States Constitution.
The constitution and its arbiter, the nation’s highest court, are at the heart of the American system of checks and balances — the various levers of power which are able to prevent the dominance of any one branch of public governance.
The founders of the United States were determined to avoid tyranny, and have succeeded resolutely in that.
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The role of the supreme court however has been controversial, because over the centuries it has at times interpreted the constitution in ways that are bitterly disputed.
This has been the case in Roe v Wade, a ruling almost 50 years ago which in effect established a constitutional right to abortion. No US state could block that right. Now, a more conservative court has decided that there is no such right.
This does not mean abortion is outlawed. It means it is a matter for each state — an imperfect but reasonable solution.
However much abortion advocates use euphemisms such as termination and reproductive rights and women’s bodily autonomy, an abortion is the calculated ending of an emerging human life. The later this happens in pregnancy, the more abhorrent it becomes. Almost everyone thinks a termination of a foetus just before birth is so revolting as to be wicked. Thus the real debate is when an abortion becomes wrong – we almost all agree it is so at the end of pregnancy.
Reaction to the overturn of Roe v Wade has been hysterical and alarming. There is talk of changing, perhaps ruining, the operation of the Supreme Court. This would be vandalism.