Republican congressional leaders sign ‘friend of the court’ brief challenging Roe v. Wade

GOP Senators and House of Representatives argue that “Roe’s jurisprudence has been haphazard from the beginning.”

A view of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will be presented with details of a civil rights case that has the potential to completely dismantle vital protections in the law that will have lasting repercussions for Black business owners and contractors. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives are trying to get the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade.

Nearly all of the 207 senators and House representatives who signed a “friend of the court” brief on Thursday are Republican. The brief was filed by Americans United for Life, a national organization against abortion that has hitched its fight to a Louisiana abortion law that will be decided on by the top court in March, according to CNN. The Louisiana law requires doctors to hold hospital admitting privileges within a 30-mile radius of where an abortion is performed. People against the law argue that this requirement is not needed.

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The friend of the court brief challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, arguing that “Roe’s jurisprudence has been haphazard from the beginning.”

The landmark Supreme Court decision “remains a radically unsettled precedent” that “has been substantially undermined by subsequent authority,” the brief adds. The decision “clearly did not settle the abortion issue,” Republicans write, asking the justices to “reconsider those precedents.”

The friend of the court brief was signed by Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah, and Tim Scott of South Carolina as well as Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Steve Chabot of Ohio, CNN reported. Two Democrats – Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Dan Lipinski of Illinois – also signed the brief.

Although the Louisiana law in question does not directly impact the Roe decision, the timing of it comes as nearly the same number of congressional Democrats filed a brief in December backing Roe and defending Louisiana abortion providers.

“The brief is no surprise because anti-abortion politicians have always either taken direct aim at Roe v. Wade or attempted to push abortion access out of reach,” Brigitte Amiri, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, told CNN. “Notably, this brief goes further than what the state of Louisiana has pushed by suggesting that Roe should be reconsidered even though the questions in the case don’t directly raise whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned.”

However, Americans United for Life’s government affairs counsel, Katie Glenn, said the group does not expect this case will overturn Roe v. Wade.

“However, the court has the opportunity to reconsider the cases that have come before this case and in particular related to the workability of Roe and other precedents,” Glenn told CNN.

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Notably missing from the slate of Republican congressional leaders who signed the brief is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. His spokesman, David Popp, did not tell CNN why McConnell didn’t sign the release but said he certainly supports it.

“Senator McConnell is proud of his pro-life record and strongly supports the amicus brief filed by his colleagues,” Popp said.