Political Science 1100, Introduction to American Politics, April 16, 2014

Current events

How the Courts Make Policy: The Case of Abortion

2. Roe v. Wade

  A. Why Roe Sought an Injunction

  B. Why A U.S. District Court? Original Jurisdiction

  C. Why An Appeal ?

     No One Liked the District Court's Decision so they Appealed To
     The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals ...

     ... and Then To The U.S. Supreme Court

D. Key Supreme Court Policy Choices

- Decision #1: Should We Hear the Case?

      Does Roe Have "Standing"?

- Decision #2: Should we decide in Favor of Roe or Wade?

     The decision in favor of Roe

- Decision #3:

  Should we set policy guidelines for constitutional abortion rights for the whole nation ?

    Answer: Yes

    (a) First trimester: No interference
“the abortion decision … must be
left to the medical judgment of the
pregnant  woman's attending physician.”


    (b) Second trimester: State regulation

     “the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.”


    (c) Third trimester: States can ban most abortions
 “For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”


 Politics and Abortion Policy after Roe


The Mobilization of interest groups


Elections matter  


Federalism matters - state actions.




1. How can you measure American prosperity?

·  A. Economic Wealth: Gross Domestic Product, or GDP


·  B. Jobs and Unemployment


·  C. Prices and Inflation


·  D. Trade


·  E. Inequality

2. Markets and Politics

- The ideal of the "free market" is very attractive to Americans in theory -

                   Because it promises both freedom and prosperity


- Government are indispensable for markets (for example, government protects property rights and contracts)

    in practice, Americans constantly ask government to intervene in markets because:


Americans want