Dec 30, 2021
The Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision on abortion almost certainly is a done deal. The justices and their clerks know the result but they aren’t letting on, while the rest of us won’t find out for another five months.
That is not to say the outcome is now unalterable, since Supreme Court decisions aren’t final until the court announces them. Thus prayer for a prolife ruling remains very much in order. But the court heard Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization argued December 1, and two days later the justices, following their usual custom, met privately to tell one another where they stand and begin the opinion-writing process.
Will that really take five months? Yes, it will. It involves research, drafting a majority opinion, circulating that document among the other justices for input and revision, writing and circulating the principal dissenting opinion, and the writing of an unknown number of concurring and dissenting opinions by individual justices (alone or joined by others).
Since all the justices probably will want to tell the world--and the history books--where they stood in this case, the process could take a while. And bear in mind that the court meanwhile will be following the same procedure in all the other cases to be decided this term.