First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy

By Suzanne U. Samuels; Nadine Strossen | Go to book overview

3

Amici Curiae and the Abortion Debate

Griswold v. Connecticut opened the door to many other cases where litigants alleged that a federal, state, or municipal law violated their right to privacy. Abortion laws were the first to come under fire, and in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that restrictive abortion laws in Georgia and Texas ran afoul of the privacy right. In the aftermath of this decision in Roe v. Wade, Congress and thirty-four state legislatures passed new abortion laws. In the two decades that followed Roe, the Supreme Court heard twenty-one cases involving challenges to these new laws. 1 In many of these cases, the Court was the subject of intense interest group lobbying, as individuals and groups filed amici curiae briefs to provide the Justices with alternative legal theories as well as historical, sociological, scientific, and medical information. This chapter focuses on four critically important cases heard by the Court in the two decades following the Roe decision. In addition to Roe, this chapter examines amici participation in Harris v. McRae, the first case that called upon the Court to evaluate post-Roe limitations on access to abortion, City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Services, which involved a city ordinance that imposed stringent regulations on the abortion procedure; and Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, which upheld the validity of Roe while at the same time transforming the abortion right.

Eighty-seven briefs were filed in these four cases: nineteen briefs were filed in Roe and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton; eleven briefs filed in Harris v. McRae; twenty-two briefs filed in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Services; and thirty-five briefs were filed in Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This chapter explores

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First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction: Decision-Making in the U.S. Supreme Court Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Right to Privacy Created: Poe V. Ullman and Griswold V. Connecticut 25
  • 3 - Amici Curiae and the Abortion Debate 53
  • 4 - Amici Curiae and Assistance in Dying 111
  • 5 - Amici Curiae and Protected Relationships 165
  • 6 - Conclusions 193
  • Sources 225
  • Selected Bibliography 235
  • Index 247
  • About the Author 285
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