Laws in Texas and Mississippi have severely limited access to legal abortions in those states. Now, many Americans are wondering if the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, a case decided in 1973. Major reversals have happened throughout the court’s history, including Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which overturned the six-decade-old decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Law and political science scholar David Schultz explains when, and why, the court has, at crucial times, decided to change its mind, and thereby the law of the land.

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Jeff Inglis

Politics + Society Editor

How much importance does the Supreme Court place on prior decisions? Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has overturned precedent dozens of times in the past 60 years, including when it struck down legal segregation

David Schultz, Hamline University

There is value in observing legal precedent, but sometimes circumstances, logic or judges’ views determine it’s time to overturn it.


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