The much-anticipated Supreme Court arguments — more on those from Katie here — over abortion access versus the right to life in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization did not go well on Wednesday for those advocating for some constitutional right to abortion.
It doesn't require any spin to glean that impression from the arguments if you tuned in live, either. The arguments offered — and responses to questions from justices — from those seeking to end Mississippi's protections for the unborn were so bad that even CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it a "wall-to-wall disaster."
If you believe that women should have the right choose abortion, today's Supreme Court argument was a wall-to-wall disaster.— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) December 1, 2021
Multiple questions posed to the pro-abortion side — especially from Justices Thomas and Barrett — were apparently too much to handle, as observers pointed out.
Poor Justice Thomas. These attorneys are simply not equipped to handle this hypothetical.— Alexandra DeSanctis Marr (@xan_desanctis) December 1, 2021
The pro-life movement should rejoice with how the SCOTUS oral argument went. I count six votes upholding the Mississippi law and 5 to 6 directly overturning Roe. Only Sotomayor defended the more extreme arguments of the pro-abortion side (and poorly).— Roger Severino (@RogerSeverino_) December 1, 2021
Nothing that Rikelman just said in response to Barrett made any sense.— Alexandra DeSanctis Marr (@xan_desanctis) December 1, 2021
Of course, pitching abortion as a constitutional right and defending Roe v. Wade as a sound principle is an undesirable position to be in. As Justice Roberts highlighted, the pro-abortion side was arguing for laws more similar to those of North Korea and China than are found in Europe and elsewhere.
WOW - Justice Roberts notes that America’s abortion laws are closer to China and North Korea than Europe.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 1, 2021
Justice Alito grew apparently frustrated with the pro-abortion side's non-answers to his questions and demanded "give me a yes or no."
Rikelman is not doing well, but I can’t really blame her, because defending Roe as good law is basically an impossible job!— Alexandra DeSanctis Marr (@xan_desanctis) December 1, 2021
Others who've witnessed the machinations of the Supreme Court from the inside also shared their evaluations of Wednesday's arguments, and they thought it "went about as badly for the pro-abortion side as it could reasonably have been expected to go."
Former SCOTUS clerk texts me: "That went about as badly for the pro-abortion side as it could reasonably have been expected to go." He's right. No missteps on pro-life side; no worrying lines of questions from the conservative justices; Kagan surprisingly quiet.— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanTAnd) December 1, 2021
And while criticism of the pro-abortion arguments came from all sides, credit was given to those arguing on the side of life for their succinct and competent explanation of new knowledge of fetal pain and science allowing babies to survive outside the womb earlier that has developed since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
Scott Stewart, Mississippi Solicitor General, did a truly phenomenal job arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of Mississippi's abortion law. Well done.— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) December 1, 2021
The result of the pro-abortion side's mediocre-at-best performance before the High Court has already caused The New York Times and Washington Post to throw in the towel and predict that the Supreme Court will likely uphold Mississippi's protection of the unborn — and open the door to overruling Roe v. Wade.
Breaking News: The Supreme Court seems poised to uphold Mississippi's law, which bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, after hearing arguments on Wednesday. But the court's conservative majority appeared split about overruling Roe v. Wade entirely. https://t.co/Cj9TYacIp6 pic.twitter.com/v2JiwBPMg3— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 1, 2021