Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Criticizes Roe v. Wade Abortion Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Criticizes Roe v. Wade Abortion Case Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 14, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is considered one of the six justices who are keeping the nation’s high court in favor of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision. However, in answering questions after a speech to law students at the University of Kansas, she criticized the landmark case.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court by pro-abortion former President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg indicated she backed legal abortion but said the court went about establishing its legality the wrong way.

"The law was changing," Ginsburg said about the state of abortion laws around the country at the time of the Roe case, according to an Associated Press report.

"Women were lobbying around that issue,” she said. "The Supreme Court stopped all that by deeming every law — even the most liberal — as unconstitutional. That seemed to me not the way courts generally work."

Since her arrival on the court, Justice Ginsburg has been a consistent abortion proponent, even turning down a Nebraska ban on the partial-birth abortion procedure.

The issue of Supreme Court appointments will eventually be one of the most contentious debates in the Senate.

With the failing health and advancing age of a few of the justices, retirements are likely soon and pro-life groups are looking for a chance to change the makeup of the court, which currently backs abortion by a 6-3 margin.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had an October surgery for thyroid cancer, is a leading possibility. Judges Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens and Ginsburg, who all back abortion, are all considered likely retirees as well.

All three are advancing in age, like the 80 year-old Rehnquist, and they have all been treated for cancer. Justice Stevens, the oldest at 84, has had prostate cancer while Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had breast cancer and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had colon cancer.

In the 1970s, Ginsburg worked for the ACLU on projects related to abortion and other women’s issues.