Theme: Law & justice | Content Type: Journal article

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Dobbs v. Jackson and the Revival of the States' Rights Constitution

Richard Johnson

tim mossholder supreme court

Tim Mossholder

| 1 min read

The US Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health ended the federal right to an abortion, first pronounced in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade. Dobbs has immediate implications for American women, but it also exposes a growing hostility by the court to the doctrine of ‘substantive due process’ on which many other federal rights rely. This article argues that the court's weakening of substantive due process is a direct challenge to the constitutional transformation wrought by the Fourteenth Amendment following the Civil War. The amendment asserted a national standard of fundamental rights, profoundly rebalancing power away from the states. Should the Supreme Court extend the logic of Dobbs, the national basis for many substantive due process rights will be removed. The court is reviving a kind of states' rights constitutional thinking hitherto unseen by the current generation of Americans.

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    Richard Johnson

    Richard Johnson is Senior Lecturer in US Politics and Policy at Queen Mary, University of London.

    Articles by Richard Johnson