Will the Supreme Court Overturn Roe v. Wade? UC Law SF Professors Weigh in for News Outlets

Law Professors from UC Law SF are weighing in on the leaked Supreme Court draft that shows the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Hastings law professors are experts in many areas, including constitutional and civil rights, health care law, and other topics. Here’s what they had to say:

Professor Radhika Rao

Radhika Rao, an expert on Constitutional Law, and Reproductive Health and Rights

Rao was a Supreme Court Clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of the Roe v. Wade opinion that established constitutional abortion rights for women.

“I think the language of Justice Alito’s purported draft . . .is really rather caustic and mocking of the precedent that Justice Blackmun authored in Roe v. Wade, I found it to be gratuitously insulting,” Rao said on the Bloomberg Daybreak Asia Podcast.

“I was shocked and appalled!” she said in this ABC7 interview. “”It’s really intuitively insulting of the opinion in Roe that was authored by Justice Blackmun. I was thinking that Justice Blackmun, my old boss, must be turning in his grave.”

“What does this mean for the constitutional right to privacy? Justice Alito in his opinion, which we think, which purports to be the majority of the supreme court – he says the constitutional right to abortion is not protected because abortion is no where explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. But that very same constitutional text does not mention privacy either, so if the right to abortion is not protected, then there no protected right to privacy,” she said in this television interview with Bloomberg in Australia.

Rory Little, an expert in Constitutional Law and Criminal Law

Professor Rory Little
Professor Rory Little

Rory Little is a former Supreme Court clerk.

“One thing I think what people aren’t saying, this is just a first draft,” he said. “Until all of that is done, that back and forth editing, it’s not final.” Little said, however, that despite the modifications, it seemed likely abortion access would be overturned. He called the document “authentic” and appeared to be written in a “strident” tone unique to Alito. Published in Marin Independent Journal.

“We don’t know for sure whether five justices have signed on to this draft opinion. .  . It’s not clear that they’ve all joined this opinion,” he said in an interview with NewsNation’s On Balance with Leland Vittert.

Professor of Practice Shanin Specter.

Shanin Specter, Professor of Practice and founding member of Kline &  Specter

Shanin Specter is a preeminent American trial lawyer. He is a founding partner of Kline & Specter, one of the leading catastrophic injury firms in the United States.

“Leaving the definition of individual rights to each of 50 jurisdictions will create the un-United States. The first example of our new disunity is the unprecedented and destructive act of leaking a draft Supreme Court opinion. It is likely to get worse from here.” (Twitter) Published in the National Law Journal

Joel Paul, an expert in Constitutional Law and International Security

Professor Joel Paul

Professor Joel Richard Paul teaches and writes about constitutional law, international business and trade, and foreign relations and national security law.

“It is so extraordinary for a draft of a Supreme Court opinion to be leaked and that suggests to me that there are very deep divisions on the court. Obviously, someone, either a clerk or justice must have leaked this opinion in protest to the majority’s views,” Paul said in an interview with ABC7 News.

Professor David Levine

David Levine, an expert on Civil Procedure

Before joining the UC Law SF faculty in 1982, Professor Levine lived in New Orleans while serving as a law clerk to Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and was also an associate in the litigation department of Morrison and Foerster in San Francisco.

“About two-dozen states have already passed what are called trigger laws, meaning that they’re written in anticipation of Roe being overruled and the idea is that they would immediately come into effect in those states and would ban abortion in all those states. So within days, we would have half of the states would have lost their right to an abortion,” UC Law SF Professor David Levine said in an interview with Fox 5.

The draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito does point out that abortion is different from other rights in one key way. “These other situations, contraception, same sex marriages don’t involve that issue of a non-consenting entity who might need protection,” explains David Levine, a UC Law SF constitutional law expert, in an interview with CBS Bay Area.

“The legality of what states can or can’t do to regulate companies who cover such costs can get murky. Levine said the easiest thing lawmakers can do is to remove tax breaks offered to companies who cover them,” from KOAM News Now.

“The federal government could not force the state of California to enforce a ban on abortion clinics,” he told KTVU News, in a story about Oakland becoming a sanctuary city.