Florida Conservative Justices Can’t Wait to Get on Anti-Abortion Bandwagon

Florida Supreme Court Building 2011Most maps of the state of abortion law in the US usually show Florida as a state where abortion will still be legal after the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. That’s because Florida State Supreme Court precedent holds that abortion is a right protected under the Florida Constitution.

Indeed, the Florida Constitution, unlike the US federal Constitution, explicitly protects an individual’s right to privacy (against the state, not against private parties, alas).

As recently as February 2017, a majority of Florida Supreme Court justices supported abortion. The court struck down a law that required a woman seeking an abortion to wait at least 24 hours between meeting with a doctor and obtaining the procedure.

Justice Barbara Pariente quoted her late colleague Justice Shaw’s statement from In re: TW that the state privacy provision “is clearly implicated in a woman’s decision of whether or not to continue her pregnancy.”

But don’t let that fool you. In contemporary Florida, your rights don’t mean much.

Not only is the hard-right, DeSantis-appointed, conservative majority on the Florida Supreme Court ready willing and able to cast precedent to the wind when they feel like it, but according to the usually reliable Florida Bulldog, the Justices have already started drafting memos on how to overrule the state abortion-rights decision even though there is currently no such case before the court.

About Michael Froomkin

A. Michael Froomkin is the Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Recent work on technology law includes articles on AI and medicine, on drones, and many articles about law and the Internet, and on technology and privacy. He is the founder and editor of the online law review Jotwell, The Journal of Things We Like (Lots). He is a founder (2012) and sometime Chair of the We Robot conference, which returns to Coral Gables in 2019. He is on the Advisory Boards of several organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Prof. Froomkin is a non-resident Fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, of the University of Miami Center for Computational Science. Professor Froomkin’s publications are listed at http://law.tm/#pubs. Before entering teaching, Prof. Froomkin practiced international arbitration law in the London office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and Chief Judge John F. Grady of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Prof. Froomkin received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of both the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law. He has an M.Phil in History of International Relations from Cambridge University in England, which he obtained while on a Mellon Fellowship. His B.A. from Yale was in Economics and History, summa cum laude, phi beta kappa with Distinction in History.
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