The whole topic of the future of Roe Vs Wade can seem pretty convoluted…
So I’m going to give a factual, objective, unpolemical causal account in just a few short paragraphs about how likely Roe Vs Wade is to either survive or be repealed.
Whatever your thoughts on this topic, this is a useful, shareable guide that is based on facts and not moral arguments in either direction.
It really is as simple as this Five Line Test!
If the following five conditions are fulfilled 100%, then Roe vs Wade will survive.
If one or more of them aren’t fulfilled, Roe vs Wade will be repealed (turned back to the states) plus there might even be further action, e.g. a Personhood Amendment or a further Supreme Court precedent to make abortion unconstitutional.
The five conditions are these:
1. Roe survives until after the 2020 election
Very likely but not certain. It might be counterproductive for the conservative judges to do something perceived as undermining perceptions of non-partisanship. Chief Justice John Roberts has already gone public on the issue of impartiality in the past.
2. The Democrats win the election.
If they run a good candidate, they could do it! Depends on the candidate nominated and various other circumstances.
3. At least one conservative justice retires or dies, so they lose their 5/4 majority.
Fairly unlikely, but possible; all are fairly young, with the exception of Justice Thomas.
4. No liberal judges die or are retired.
Difficult to say: Justice Ginsburg has survived several attacks of cancer and is determined to fight well beyond 86.
5. The new Democratic president successfully brings in a new liberal judge.
Presidential nomination is the easy bit: however, Senate confirmation will depend on the finer details of the election results. Basically, Republicans would need to lose the Senate for this to happen. Only 35 Senate seats up for grabs, but the current Republican majority is pretty thin, weighing in at about half a dozen seats).
It seems to me that if all five of these conditions hold, Roe vs Wade will survive.
If one or more of these conditions don’t hold, Roe vs Wade will be repealed by the Supreme Court and abortion turned over to the states: unless, of course, at the time or later, even more severe action is taken against Roe.
In a nutshell: it is certainly possible the Democrats might retain Roe vs Wade, but they have a steep hill to climb with all five tests here almost certain to be essential prerequisites.
NB: It goes without saying that the account above is purely a causal account. I do think it’s important that both sides don’t hang around waiting for the judges on the other side to die. There has been some pretty low behavior on all sides already, and plenty of selective outrage from both parties.