Stephen Breyer on Abortion
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Clinton 1994)
Others, like Justice Breyer, insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far--that on the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account.
I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution--that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.
I see democracy as a conversation to be had. According to this conception, the genius of Madison’s design is not that it provides a fixed blueprint for action. It provides us with a framework and rules, but all its machinery are designed to force us into a conversation.
OnTheIssues explanation: The court did not rule against "parental notification" in general; in other words, states can decide if and when a minor girl's maternal health is the higher priority (a pro-choice stance); justices in the minority say that parental notification has the higher priority (a pro-life stance).
Opinions: O`Connor wrote majority opinion; all 8 other justices concurred.
On the subject of partial-birth abortion, it was altogether natural that the writing assignment fell to Justice Breyer (made by the senior justice in the majority, Justice Stevens) to write the deeply controversial majority opinion invalidating the state law prohibiting the procedure. No one else would so likely win the vote of Justice O'Connor (to the dismay of Justice Kennedy) on this wrenching subject.
|Other Justices on Abortion:||Stephen Breyer on other issues:|
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O'Connor
John Paul Stevens
Natural Law Platform