With President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement on the Supreme Court, the fate of Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights have sparked a sharp debate.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, it would mean a significant shift to the right for the Supreme Court, according to the Judicial Common Space system, a metric developed by political scientists Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin, Jeffrey A. Segal, and Chad Westerland.
The system assigns a score to Supreme Court justices based on their voting patterns; for federal appeals court judges, like Kavanaugh, scores are based on the ideologies of the presidents and senators who nominated them.
Conservative judges are assigned a score between 0 and 1; the closer you are to 1, the more conservative the judge. Similarly, liberal-leaning judges are given scores between -1 and 0.
According to this system, the only judge more conservative than Kavanaugh is Justice Clarence Thomas.
Justice Kennedy, who was often considered the swing vote, occupies a far more liberal position in the system than Kavanaugh does.
So what does this mean if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling were to be overturned? Four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Louisiana — would automatically ban abortions.
Ten states would go back to pre-Roe laws that would theoretically make abortions illegal in those states. This includes Massachusetts, although state lawmakers are moving to repeal the 19th-century law.
Only nine states would protect the right of a woman to have abortions.
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