By Carrie Butler
As the U.S. prepares for a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a consequential decision expected to come that will create immediate pressure to respond and take action – here are William Hurd’s most recent insights:
- According to the Supreme Court’s published calendar, the last session of the current (2021) term is next Monday, June 27.
- While the Court could always schedule an additional session to announce its final opinions, it very likely that the decision in Dobbs (along with the other remaining decisions) will be announced then.
- Given the comments by the Court during oral argument and The Leak, it seems almost certain that the Mississippi 15-week statute will be upheld. But, in reaching that result, it is not necessary to go so far as to overturn Roe v. Wade completely.
- What remains to be seen is whether the majority that seemed in favor of the complete overturn of Roe v. Wade, in the leaked February draft, end up there. Or, whether some will have decided not to go that far (at least in this case) and, in effect, move the line of permissible state prohibition from the 3rd trimester, where Roe/Casey places it, to the 15-week mark (arguably allowing a woman enough time to learn of her pregnancy and terminate if she so chooses).
- If there is a majority in favor of upholding the Mississippi 15-week statute, but not a majority behind any single rationale, then the opinion that reaches that result on the narrowest grounds will be the holding of the case. This is true even though the number of Justices supporting the result on the narrowest grounds may be fewer than those supporting the result on more expansive grounds.
- In any event, the Court’s decision will not make abortion illegal. It will, at most, return the issue to state legislatures and, in the event of a challenge to state law, to state courts, who will be free to make their own decisions about any rights under their state constitutions.
- In the non-state jurisdictions of the United States (D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Pacific territories), similar legislative authority may be exercised by the local legislature or by Congress.
Bill’s credentials are noted below, including that he formerly served as Virginia Solicitor General, argued three cases before the Supreme Court and defended abortion statues while serving in the Virginia Attorney General’s office.
About William H. Hurd
Bill Hurd is a Richmond, VA-based attorney with the law firm of Eckert Seamans and specializes in federal and state appellate litigation, complex and high-stakes issues, and government and internal investigations. He served as the first solicitor general of Virginia (from 1999-2004), and Bill has represented businesses under investigation by state attorneys general across the nation. During his career, Bill has appeared on brief in more than 130 appellate cases and argued more than 50 times before federal and state appellate courts. His appellate victories covered a wide array of legal issues, including reversing the denial of a multimillion-dollar tax credit, securing educational benefits for children with disabilities, upholding statutory procedures for restoration of voting rights, and upholding “minute of silence” law for public schools, among many others. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Bill has argued three cases, including the landmark decision in Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343 (2008), upholding Virginia’s anti-Klan statute banning cross-burning with intent to intimidate, and another ruling that upheld the trespass policy of the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority. Bill also maintains a robust practice representing companies under investigation by state attorneys general. He helps companies resolve actual and threatened investigations in a broad spectrum of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, debt buying, home service contracts, nationwide retailing, and tobacco manufacturing, among others. Widely recognized as a leading election law attorney, Bill previously served as chief counsel in the statewide election recounts for the Attorney General of Virginia in 2005 and 2013. He served as legal counsel to Virginia’s 2011 independent, bi-partisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting. He is also well versed in federal and state constitutional law. In addition to practicing law, Bill is an adjunct professor at the Scalia Law School of George Mason University, where he teaches a course on the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause.