During oral argument in Dobbs, Justice Sotomayor made an understandable speaking error. At 19:00, Justice Sotomayor said, “I think that was what both courts above said. That no expert said there was any viability prior to 23 to 24months.” It was obvious that she meant “23-24 months”.
Heritage Reporting Company corrected the error at p. 21.
How does the Justices correct apparent speaking mistakes? This practice is not something I like. Reporting in court should be done by a court reporter. Small errors made by judges or counsel can lead to grounds for appeal. The reporter is not responsible for fixing a speak-o, as Jonathan Gruber would argue.
If we consider the viability line, however, it is clear that children are not viable beyond 24 weeks. If an infant was left to his own devices in nature, he would likely not live long. He still needs the help of others. In some cases, a child might not become self-sufficient until the teen years.
This topic was discussed in South Park’s classic episode. Eric Cartman’s mom, who wanted an extremely-late term abortion.
Liane Cartman : [At the Unplanned Parenthood Clinic] I want to have… an abortion.
Nurse Goodly : Oh, well, we can do that. This must be a very difficult time for you, Mrs…
Liane Cartman : Cartman. Although it was a tough decision, I don’t think I have the ability to raise my child in such an unstable world.
Nurse Goodly : Yes, Ms. Cartman, if you don’t feel fit to raise a child, an abortion probably is the answer. Are you aware of the exact time that a child was conceived?
Liane Cartman : About 8 years ago.
Nurse Goodly : [thinking] I see… So the fetus is…
Liane Cartman : 8 years old.
Nurse Goodly : Ms. Cartman, 8 years old is a little late to be considering abortion.
Liane Cartman : Really?
Nurse Goodly : Yes, this is what we would refer to as the 40th trimester.
Liane Cartman : But I just don’t think I’m a fit mother.
Nurse Goodly : But we prefer to abort babies a little earlier on. There is a law that prohibits abortions in the 2nd trimester.
Liane Cartman : Well, I think you need to keep your laws off of my body!
Nurse Goodly : Hummm… I’m afraid I can’t help you, Ms. Cartman. You will need to talk to your Congressman if you wish to amend the law.
Liane Cartman : Well, that’s exactly what I intend to do! You are very welcome.
Yesterday, Justice Barrett and I were discussing this episode.