‘This Is An Emergency’: America Left Reeling in Wake of Likely Roe v. Wade Reversal

Late Monday night, shock waves could be felt across the U.S. after a leaked draft opinion signaled the Supreme Court’s majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case concerning a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi. The leaked opinion, if and when it takes effect at the end of the Supreme Court’s term (likely in June), represents the biggest blow to women’s constitutional rights in the last 50 years. 

Reactions from feminists, lawmakers, reproductive rights advocates and legal scholars have been pouring in as America begins to grapple with the gravity of what abortion access will look like in a post-Roe world.

On Passing the Judiciary Accountability Act: ‘The Judge Who Harassed Me Was Never Held Accountable for His Actions’

The way judges treat their clerks—especially when no one is watching—speaks to who they really are. But when they mistreat their clerks, life-tenured federal judges rarely face accountability. I would know: The D.C. Superior Court judge for whom I clerked began harassing me just weeks into my clerkship.

The Judiciary Accountability Act would raise the bar for workplace civility.

Woman Arrested for Abortion in Texas, Held on Half-Million-Dollar Bond: ‘This Arrest Is Inhumane’

On Thursday, April 7, Texas police arrested a woman and charged her with murder for allegedly self-inducing an abortion using pills. The woman, 26-year old Lizelle Herrera who lives near the Texas-Mexico border, is being held in Starr County jail on a $500,000 bond.

The murder charge is an extreme and unprecedented misuse of Texas law that is in direct conflict with the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Texas does not have a law that makes self-inducing an abortion a crime (three states do—Oklahoma, South Carolina and Nevada). Two recent laws restricting abortion in the state—Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 4—explicitly exempt pregnant women.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Is the Justice We’ve Been Waiting For

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, over the course of her broad and impressive legal career, has demonstrated a commitment to civil and human rights and that she already has a stellar reputation for being an outstanding, fair-minded arbiter of justice.

Jackson is the justice that so many have been waiting for—not just because she reflects the rich diversity of America, but because she represents so much of what has historically been excluded from and missing on the Court.

Transgender Minors Have a Right To Gender-Affirming Care, Justice Dept. Warns States

The Justice Department said last week that states seeking to block transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming care may be violating federal law—and signaled that it is prepared to pursue legal action or support existing litigation against states seeking such restrictions.

“It’s probably the most powerful and progressive step we’ve seen on transgender rights ever from the federal government, at least today,” said Ezra Ishmael Young, who teaches constitutional law at Cornell Law School.

Keeping Score: Leaders Stand Up for Trans Rights; California’s First Latina Supreme Court Justice; Oklahoma Moves to Ban All Abortions

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.

This week: Biden administration announces gender-neutral passports to be made available; California confirms first Latina state Supreme Court justice; Governors Gavin Newsom and Jay Inslee increase abortion accessibility; Polish pro-choice activist charged for assisting an abortion; and more.

The Right To Abort a Pre-Viable Fetus Can’t Be Disparaged by the States. Can Someone Tell Clarence Thomas?

The Constitution is clear: Justices of the Supreme Court may not uphold state prohibitions against elective pre-viable abortions simply because the Constitution does not expressly grant to women the right to an abortion. If Justice Clarence Thomas, or other Supreme Court justices hold otherwise, they are not saying “what the law is.” Instead, they are saying what they want the law to be.

Their thinking may be “original,” but it’s a far cry from “originalism.”

How Texas’s S.B. 8 Restricts Sexual Abuse Survivor Advocacy

Texas’s S.B. 8 empowers private citizens, giving them the right to sue anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion”—including attorneys like myself who represent survivors of sexual assault.

This attempt to tie the hands of attorneys and organizations that serve survivors is a gross overreach of the law that opens the door for attorneys to face civil action for giving advice to our clients and constitutes a breach of the attorney-client privilege that is critical to a healthy justice system. That is why, since S.B. 8 was enacted, I have continued to advise my clients and other women who call our office to help them find resources, even though it means I may face civil liability.

What Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Historic Nomination Means to Women of Color in Law

Approximately one in three lawyers are women. Fewer than two in 10 lawyers are people of color. And only one in 115 justices of the Supreme Court has ever been a woman of color. That number could soon double as Ketanji Brown Jackson has become the first Black woman ever nominated to the highest court in the country. 

Madiba Dennie and Elizabeth Hira are uniquely positioned to discuss this historic nomination: They’re both women of color, they’re both attorneys, and they both work at the Brennan Center for Justice on issues of democracy and equity. This discussion highlights the networks they have relied on, the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain, and the democracy they hope to build.