The Supreme Court could essentially redefine the 2020 elections



Ronald Klain served as a senior White House aide to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and an adviser to Joe Biden's presidential campaign in 2020.

In last week's Democratic presidential debate, two issues - abortion and the Supreme Court - were finally on the agenda. But the relatively abstract discussion of possible schemes that could add to court membership or rotate judges out of court masked a critical point: circumstances may be conspiring to place abortion and the court at the heart of the 2020 campaign in a way that is unmatched in a generation.

Why? Because of the possible convergence of two major events in June 2020. First, this is the time when the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the Louisiana abortion case - a provision that is likely to severely restrict abortion rights even if it does not directly overturn Roe v. Wade.
Second, despite his public protests to the contrary, Judge Clarence Thomas may retire in the same month, leading to a brutal battle over his replacement.

Any of these issues, taken alone, will be of great importance. Together - in the midst of the presidential campaign - they will be disastrous.

Conservative activists are not shy about urging the court to use the Louisiana case to bring down Roe. Even if the court does not reach this limit, state legislatures are likely to grant expanded powers to restrict access to abortion, effectively allowing states to “organize abortion clinics from being”. The Louisiana law in question is almost identical to the law that was rejected by the court in 2016 when Judge Anthony M. Kennedy cast the conclusive vote. The court's decision to overturn this ruling will provide a clear indication of a new trend under a new conservative majority.

Republicans and the legal right - who expect a favorable verdict in the Louisiana case and may be upset about any retirement plans from the court - will be ready. Will Democrats and the legal left be ready?