PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the U.S. Supreme Court’s expanded conservative majority eliminating the right to abortion on Friday, a local legal expert told Target 12 he expects the justices to scrutinize other American rights as well.
“Seems like everything is up for grabs,” said Michael Yelnosky, professor of law at Roger Williams University School of Law. “I think they’re signaling that they’re going to get done as much as they can, while they can — and of course, that could be a very long time.”
When Republicans successfully confirmed three high court justices during President Donald Trump’s tenure, concluding with Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020, they secured a 6-3 conservative supermajority. And they expected big changes.
“As it turns out, she was the fifth vote to overrule Roe,” Yelnosky said.
He said between the court’s ruling on Thursday, striking down a New York law restricting guns in public, and overruling Roe today, the conservative bloc is not afraid to issue controversial decisions.
Justice Samuel Alito’s decision on Friday specifically said ending federal abortion rights does not impact other cases. But in a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas urged his colleagues to reconsider cases legalizing birth control, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage.
“He’s inviting litigants to bring a case like that to the court,” Yelnosky said.
Yelnosky said he expects more fireworks to come next week, when the court issues its final decisions before the summer break. The high court is expected to limit President Joe Biden’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.