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In today's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade (1973), Justice Clarence Thomas joined the majority opinion. But he also wrote a separate concurrence arguing that the logic behind today's ruling should also apply to previous Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage, sodomy, and the right to access contraceptives.
Today's majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruled that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to an abortion. In the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito determined that the right to an abortion is not "rooted in the Nation's history and tradition."
Alito's decision, however, very clearly explains that he's not trying to claim that any right that isn't "rooted in the Nation's history" is potentially subject to being tossed out. This language was in the leaked draft opinion as well. He holds that part of what makes abortion different is that it involves the "destruction of a 'potential life.'" The decision states outright:
And to ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.
He specifically name-checks Obergefell v. Hodges (the 2014 ruling that mandated gay marriage recognition) and Griswold v. Connecticut (the 1965 ruling that stopped states from criminalizing contraception) as precedents he is not attempting to challenge with the Dobbs decision. He later reiterates that those decisions "are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed 'potential life.'"
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