Legal experts say the Supreme Court justice to succeed retiring Anthony Kennedy might ultimately be the end of legalized abortion, Law & Crime reported.
University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone told the legal news website conservatives currently on the nation's hight court bench have a history of overturning precedent — including Wednesday's ruling in a union fees case.
But Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, has been a moderate over the years and sided with liberals in cases about abortion and LGBT rights, Stone noted.
The conservative justices "have never taken Roe seriously," he said of the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion. "I think there would be five justices to overrule Roe v. Wade."
Added Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis: "Without a doubt, the Court will shift to the right."
"I think that, with respect to social issues, that means that the validity of Roe is imperiled and civil rights laws covering LGBT persons are ripe for judicial dismantling," he said in an email to Law & Crime reported.
"While liberals have been able to pick off a number of crucial victories in years past on hotly contested matters, they will almost always fall short in the future without Justice Kennedy on the bench now."
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe agreed.
"The Kennedy vacancy brings abortion rights to the fore in the midterms because women can no longer take Roe v. Wade and judicial protection of reproductive rights for granted," he tweeted Thursday.
Ronald Klain, a lawyer in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, tweeted:
Former federal prosecutor and CNN commentator Renato Mariotti also predicted the decision would be overturned with a new conservative justice.
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