I know many liberals are upset right now, but I think that is premature. I don’t think Roberts is nearly as conservative as Rehnquist and I think probably is closer to O’Connor in his reliance on the Stare Decisis principle. In fact even if he would support overturning Roe, it wouldn’t matter because Rehnquist did too (see the 1992 Casey decision that is now the law of the land when it comes to abortion).
So what happens next? Here’s my predicions…
1. If Bush picks a super-conservative (in the style of say Scalia or Rehnquist) then things will stay the same (unless Roberts was being tricky in the confirmation hearings and really isn’t a Stare Decisis kind of guy — if that is the case, then the court will move to the right).
2. If Bush picks another stare decisis kind of conservative or a moderate, then the court will move to the left at least on some issues.
So at least on some of the hot button issues, nothing is going to change that much. (unless Roberts is a big surprise) The only thing that would really change things would be if one of the liberal members of the court left (either due to a surprise resignation or death) while Bush was still at the helm.