As if politics in the United States weren’t fraught and overheated enough, now comes the news, in the form of a leaked draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, that the constitutional right to get an abortion is likely to be overruled by a conservative majority on the court.

As the news broke, demonstrators – both abortion foes and advocates – gathered in front of the court. Newspapers blared the headlines yesterday morning. My Twitter feed was a fevered mess of speculation and outrage, interspersed with very long threads by law professors.

The Conversation turned to Morgan Marietta, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who is a Supreme Court scholar, to help readers understand the ramifications if the draft ruling becomes the actual one. Marietta points out that the right to get an abortion will no longer depend on the Constitution; it will largely depend on where you live. “The powers of individual states to determine whether abortions are legally available are increasing,” he writes. That promises to raise the volume and bitterness of debate at many statehouses. But the ruling would have another potentially huge implication for America’s politics by lowering the standard for overruling previous court rulings. Use your imagination to conjure up the battles that could spawn.

Also today:

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Abortion rights battles look set to go from the Supreme Court to statehouses. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Abortion right guaranteed by Roe will be replaced by state power if the Supreme Court adopts the leaked Alito opinion

Morgan Marietta, UMass Lowell

If the Supreme Court guts landmark rulings that established a constitutional right to abortion, the legal struggle will shift to statehouses and state courtrooms.

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