Justice Brett Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote when the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to Roe v. Wade later this year, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The court on Wednesday will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most significant abortion case since Roe v. Wade.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide.
The Dobbs case will force the justices to consider the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that limits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation with exceptions for health emergencies and fetal abnormalities.
A Jackson, Mississippi clinic is attacking the law on constitutional grounds, and the state has responded by asking the court to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — the court’s most conservative justices — have criticized Roe to varying degrees.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett was associated with pro-life causes as a law professor and has questioned Roe's precedential weight in her scholarly writing, the Free Beacon said Monday.
That would leave Chief Justice John Roberts and Kavanaugh as potential deciding votes on the nine-member court.
The Free Beacon reported that a review of the Kavanaugh's opinions suggests openness to overturning Roe despite the judge having written very little about abortion in 15 years on the federal bench.
"A canvass of those writings shows a preference for caution and restraint. But Kavanaugh has left a trail of anti-Roe breadcrumbs in his citations and approving references to pro-life authorities," the Free Beacon’s Kevin Daley wrote.
"Abortion was a dominant theme of Kavanaugh's bitter confirmation fight, and a decision upholding Roe even in part would deflate social conservatives and ignite a circular firing squad in the GOP."
Kavanaugh wrote a soft dissent after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in 2017 that the federal government interfered with a woman's right to have an abortion.
When the Supreme Court ruled on June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo — a challenge to a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — Roberts and the Court's four liberal justices temporarily blocked the law in February 2019.
Kavanaugh offered a short solo dissent, saying the court needed more information about the precise effects of the statute.
The following year, Kavanaugh joined the minority in a 5-4 decision that struck down Louisiana's law.
In September, an organization known as "ShutDownDC" held a protest outside Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland over his vote with the majority declining to block a Texas law banning most abortions in a 5-4 decision.
Court watchers are awaiting a ruling on Texas' ban on abortion after roughly six weeks.
The Texas law bans abortion once cardiac activity is detected in the fetus, often around six weeks, before some women know they’re pregnant, and it makes no exceptions for rape or incest.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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