This Month's Focus
This month, we're praying for the Supreme Court justices, clerks, and judicial process.
After hearing oral argument on December 1, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court began their deliberation and opinion-writing process. On the Friday following oral argument, the justices met in closed chambers to initially share their votes and reasoning. When this happens, each justice is allowed to state their case uninterrupted, and the justices go around the conference table one by one, in descending order of seniority. After each justice has stated their position and after further dialogue, the votes are counted and opinion-writing assignments are made. The most senior justice in the majority decides who authors the majority opinion, and the most senior justice in the minority assigns the dissent.
Then, the justices begin drafting the majority opinion, concurrences, and dissents. Any justice can write a concurrence or dissent (or partial concurrence or partial dissent) if they choose. The justices circulate their draft opinions with the other justices, soliciting feedback and sign-ons. This process can involve extensive negotiation – especially in a high-profile, high-stakes case like Dobbs – such that the final products are published opinions that may look much different from the initial drafts. Often the majority opinion will become narrowed through the opinion-writing process, in order to gain the sign-on of a certain justice. Sometimes, there will be so much flux during negotiations that what was originally a dissent or concurrence will become the majority opinion for the Court!
Keep in mind, too, that the justices’ clerks and the public dialogue surrounding the case can also affect how the opinions are ultimately written. Because nothing is final until the ink is dry on the published, released opinion of the Supreme Court, the next several months are a critical time to continue covering the Dobbs case – and especially the Court’s deliberations – in prayer.
Keep these in mind when talking to friends or, if you are in a preaching role, consider incorporating them into a sermon or homily.
“What is this Dobbs case, anyway? What might happen?”
In May of 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case involves a law in Mississippi that bans most abortions after the baby reaches 15 weeks. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, as the only abortion provider in the state of Mississippi, sued, saying that the law is in direct violation of Roe v. Wade. In response, Mississippi essentially asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade as bad law, and barring that, to at least allow states to limit pre-viability abortions.
While it is impossible to speculate what will happen, we hope that the Supreme Court will do the right thing and allow states to once again limit or prohibit abortion, and in doing so, protect millions of preborn children and their mothers from this tragedy.
Get Others Involved
Pick one idea from the list to do this month, or come up with your own!
Join the monthly national prayer call Thursday, February 24 at 8 PM EST, and invite a friend to join you. (Call-in: 667-770-1244 / Participant code: 3318631#)
Invite your friends and family to join Pray for Dobbs, and let them know they'll get the monthly highlights by email when they join.
Visit the resources page, and consider what could be useful to your church now or in future months.
Share this page on social media, and ask people to pray with you.