The precedents that Kavanaugh is talking about tossing aside in this instance are Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1992—the cases that enshrined reproductive rights and access to abortion. He and other Justices, more likely than not a majority, based on their questions in the oral arguments, appear ready to add Dobbs to the list of landmarks by using it to explicitly overturn Roe and Casey.

The fallback would be a decision that leaves those rulings in place as empty shells, deprived of most of their practical effect. In a few months’ time, when this decision is likely to be handed down, the right to an abortion as Americans have known it for half a century will, it appears, no longer exist. KEEP READING…