What's at Stake in The Fight

The ideological balance on the high court shapes how hot-button issues of the day are decided. A sampling of topics the court may address


Over the past decade, parental-notification rules, mandatory waiting periods and other state restrictions have steadily chipped away at a woman's right to abortion. With Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement, it would probably take only the departure of one of the court's four remaining moderate-to-liberal members--most likely John Paul Stevens, 85, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 72--to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established abortion rights nationwide, or the court's more recent precedent, 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The more pressing matter of late-term-abortion bans is sure to come before the court soon. In 2000 the court ruled 5-4 that a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!