Why roe still stands: Abortion law, the supreme court, and the republican regime

Thomas M. Keck, Kevin J. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


From one angle, abortion law appears to confirm the regime politics account of the Supreme Court; after all, the Reagan/Bush coalition succeeded in significantly curtailing the constitutional protection of abortion rights. From another angle, however, it is puzzling that the Reagan/Bush Court repeatedly refused to overturn Roe v. Wade. We argue that time and again electoral considerations led Republican elites to back away from a forceful assertion of their agenda for constitutional change. As a result, the justices generally acted within the range of possibilities acceptable to the governing regime but still typically had multiple doctrinal options from which to choose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-83
Number of pages51
JournalStudies in Law Politics and Society
StatePublished - 2016


  • Judicial decision-making
  • Regime politics
  • Republican party
  • Roe v. Wade
  • Supreme court

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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