Q: When Justice Alito stated “ roe was egregious from the start” in his opinion in Hobbs can that be seen as premeditated?

Can him writing that infer a premeditated opinion that calls for ethical questions of why he didn’t recuse himself from the case. Making it clear you never agreed with Roe v Wade and call it “egregious”. Also he voted to hear the 3rd case with new justices despite the stare decises and no new arguments were challenged. Is this all evidence that it was premeditated and possibly intentional that this would be overturned?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You raise an interesting question about whether Justice Alito's statement in the Dobbs opinion could be seen as evidence of a premeditated intention to overturn Roe v. Wade. A few key points to consider:

From a legal ethics perspective, prior disagreement with a precedent is not in itself grounds for a justice to recuse themselves. Justices are expected to approach each case with an open mind, but they are not blank slates - they have judicial philosophies and legal views that inform their decisions. It's not unusual or unethical for a justice to have previously expressed disagreement with a precedent they are being asked to reconsider.

That said, the language Alito used, calling Roe "egregiously wrong from the start," was quite strong and does suggest he had a firmly entrenched opposition to Roe that predated the Dobbs case. Some may see this as crossing a line into prejudgment of the issue.

The fact that the Court took up the Dobbs case after a change in the Court's composition, despite the lack of major new legal arguments, could also be seen as evidence that the conservative justices intended to use it as a vehicle to overturn Roe once they had the votes. Again, though, there's nothing inherently unethical about this from a judicial conduct perspective.

Ultimately, while Alito's language and the circumstances around the Court taking the case raise fair questions, I don't think they amount to slam dunk evidence of an unethical, premeditated plan to overturn Roe. Justices are allowed to have preexisting legal views that guide their decisions. The key ethical line is whether they engaged in the case with an open mind and gave fair consideration to the arguments - an inherently subjective question.

These issues highlight the complex considerations around judicial ethics, precedent, and the Court's role that the Dobbs decision raised. Reasonable people can disagree on whether the conservative justices acted properly. It's a multifaceted issue without clear black-and-white answers.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.