An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

In 1989, Pennsylvania enacted five new restrictions on abortion. The most controversial provision required married women to notify their husbands before obtaining an abortion. These laws were challenged in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Generally, the Justices meet shortly after oral argument at the so-called conference, to vote on the case. A vote at conference is not binding, and it can be changed until the final decision is announced to the public. After Casey was argued, a five- vote bloc emerged at the conference to overrule Roe: Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices White, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas would have upheld all of Pennsylvania’s laws. In dissent were Justices Blackmun, Stevens, O’Connor, and Souter. (All four dissenting Justices were appointed by Republican presidents.) But that conference vote would not last.

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