What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said
The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Most Controversial Decision, Revised Edition
by Edited by Jack M. Balkin
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Pub Date 17 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 23 May 2023
A unique introduction to the constitutional arguments for and against the right to abortion
In January 1973, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade struck down most of the country's abortion laws and held for the first time that the Constitution guarantees women the right to safe and legal abortions. Nearly five decades later, in 2022, the Court’s 5-4 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overturned Roe and eliminated the constitutional right, stunning the nation. Instead of finally resolving the constitutional issues, Dobbs managed to bring new attention to them while sparking a debate about the Supreme Court’s legitimacy.
Originally published in 2005, What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said asked eleven distinguished constitutional scholars to rewrite the opinions in this landmark case in light of thirty years’ experience but making use only of sources available at the time of the original decision. Offering the best arguments for and against the constitutional right to abortion, the contributors have produced a series of powerful essays that get to the heart of this fascinating case. In addition, Jack Balkin gives a detailed historical introduction that chronicles the Roe litigation—and the constitutional and political clashes that followed it—and explains the Dobbs decision and its aftermath.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
This was an interesting read. The premise behind this book is to go back to 1973 when the original lawsuit came before the Supreme Court and they ruled on it, which had an impact that still ripples through to today. Jack has tasked eleven constitutional scholars to rewrite the opinions based on laws that existed from 1973 and before. What comes next is an interesting study into how impactful it is as to who is on the Supreme Court and how this major decision could have honestly changed based on how it was argued with laws that were already in existence. I think the response that really landed well with me is the one that kind of hit the Supreme Court with an idea that whatever law is put into effect, that the arm of the Supreme Court is not the final word on the whole of the situation, but an end to the one point that was made, that there are still other avenues to explore based on the laws of the land. I thought this was extremely well done and to be able to read views across the board was insightful. One thing I think I wish would have been added in this is a small blurb about the court cases used within these individuals arguments. Some are well known cases, Brown vs Board of Education, Plessy vs Ferguson, but I think I would have been better equipped if I had a very basic idea of what the other cases were without having to go to the internet, which I know would have added to the bulk of the book, but maybe that's why it wasn't included. I like Jack's approach and appreciate the individuals who participated as it gave me a better insight to the dynamic s of the case as a whole, and more respect of those who interpret and enact the laws of our country.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*
A dense dive into Roe v. Wade with what should have been and should be addressed. Explore how vague wording provided a pathway to overturn as well as historical treatment of pregnancy. With the forced burden of carrying a child states need to consider their role in care in utero and after. The book continues to circle back to the question - Is this constitutional?