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SUPREME COURT/Justice Bios


> John Roberts, Chief Justice

> John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice*

> Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice

> Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice

> Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice

> Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice

> Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice

> Samuel A. Alito, Associate Justice

> Sonia Sotomayor , Associate Justice

On the Supreme Court, only five justices must agree in order to decide the outcome of a case.

John Roberts

Chief Justice

Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005.
Born in Buffalo, New York 1955
Degrees: AB and JD from Harvard
Married with two children
Anti-choice

Voted with the majority in Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (Carhart II). In a 5-4 decision that put politics before women's health, the Court upheld the first-ever federal ban on certain abortions. In upholding the ban, the Court undermined a core principle of Roe v. Wade - that women's health must remain paramount. NAF opposed Roberts' nomination to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

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Votes Pro Choice John Paul Stevens
Associate Justice
Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975
Born in Chicago 1920
Degrees: AB University of Chicago, JD Northwestern University
Married with four children
Pro-choice

Justice Stevens has consistently and vigorously upheld the protections of Roe v. Wade. He has voted to uphold a woman's right to choose in several cases including Casey and Stenberg (Carhart I). Additionally, Justice Stevens opposed the weakening of Roe that occurred in both the Casey and Carhart II decisions. Stevens joined Justice Ginsburg's impassioned dissent in Carhart II attacking the majority for placing women's health in danger and for undermining women's struggle for equality.

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Antonin Scalia

Associate Justice

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986
Born in New Jersey 1936
Degrees: AB from Georgetown University and University of Frisbourg (Switzerland), also an LLB from Harvard Law School
Married with nine children
Anti-choice

Justice Scalia has consistently voted against the protections of Roe and has likened abortion to sodomy, polygamy, incest, and suicide. In his dissent in Casey Justice Scalia wrote: "Roe was plainly wrong." Justice Scalia joined a concurrence in Carhart II that stated "the Court's abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, has no basis in the Constitution."

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Anthony M. Kennedy

Associate Justice

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988
Born in California 1936
Degrees: BA from Stanford University and London School of Economics, and a LLB from Harvard Law School
Married with three children
Mixed

Justice Kennedy has a mixed record on abortion. In Casey, together with Justices O'Connor and Souter, he reaffirmed the central holding of Roe, but weakened the constitutional protection for abortion. In Carhart I , Kennedy dissented from the Court's decision and would have upheld Nebraska's ban on abortion. However, in Carhart II, a nearly identical case decided in 2007, Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority. In a 5-4 decision that put politics before women's health, the Court upheld the first-ever federal ban on certain abortions. In upholding the ban, the Court undermined a core principle of Roe v. Wade - that women's health must remain paramount.

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Clarence Thomas

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991
Born in Georgia 1948
Degrees: AB from Holy Cross College, and a JD from Yale Law School
Married with one child
Anti-choice

Justice Thomas has consistently voted against the protections of privacy and a woman's right to choose. He is staunchly opposed to abortion and believes that Roe should be overruled. In his dissent in Carhart I, he stated: "In 1973, this Court struck down an Act of the Texas Legislature that had been in effect since 1857, thereby rendering unconstitutional abortion statutes in dozens of States. As some of my colleagues on the Court, past and present, ably demonstrated, that decision was grievously wrong." Thomas authored a concurring opinion in Carhart II that stated "the Court's abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, has no basis in the Constitution."

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Votes Pro Choice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Associate Justice
Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993
Born in New York 1933
Degrees: BA from Cornell University, and a LLB from Columbia Law School
Married with two children
Pro-choice

Justice Ginsburg voted to strike down Nebraska's ban on safe abortion procedures in Carhart I. During her 1993 confirmation hearings, Ginsburg showed great support for women's right to choose. Ginsburg wrote an impassioned dissent in Carhart II attacking the majority for placing women's health in danger and for undermining women's struggle for equality. She stated women's "ability to realize their full potential...is intimately connected to 'their ability to control their reproductive lives.'" She concluded that "the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by the Court - and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives."

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Votes Pro Choice Stephen G. Breyer
Associate Justice
Nominated by President Clinton in 1994
Born in California 1938
Degrees: AB from Stanford University, BA from Magdalen College (Oxford), and a LLB from Harvard Law School
Married with three children
Pro-choice

Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion that struck down Nebraska's ban on safe abortion procedures in Carhart I. He wrote: "Taking account of these virtually irreconcilable points of view, aware that constitutional law must govern a society whose different members sincerely hold directly opposing views, and considering the matter in light of the Constitution's guarantees of fundamental individual liberty, this Court, in the course of a generation, has determined and then redetermined that the Constitution offers basic protection to the woman's right to choose." Breyer joined Justice Ginsburg's impassioned dissent in Carhart II attacking the majority for placing women's health in danger and for undermining women's struggle for equality.

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Samuel Alito

bullet Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005 (confirmed 2006)
bullet Born in New Jersey 1950
bullet Degrees: AB from Princeton and JD from Yale Law School
bullet Married with two children
bullet Anti-choice

Voted with the majority in Carhart II. In a 5-4 decision that put politics before women's health, the Court upheld the first-ever federal ban on certain abortions. In upholding the ban, the Court undermined a core principle of Roe v. Wade - that women's health must remain paramount. NAF opposed Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.

 

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Sonia Sotomayor

bullet Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009
bullet Born in New York 1954
bullet Degrees: AB from Princeton and JD from Yale Law School
bullet Unmarried
bullet Unknown

Justice Sotomayor has not participated in a case relating to the right to choose abortion.

 

*Justice Stevens announced his intention to retire from the Supreme Court on April 9, 2010.

 

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