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Ketanji Brown Jackson was the only Justice to pen a dissent after the Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling that upheld a Missouri teen’s right to undergo an abortion without parental permission. 

The Supreme Court’s decision March 20 vacated a lower court decision made in April 2022 by St. Louis’ 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson’s dissent focused on The Supreme Court’s Munsingwear vacatur — “in which a case is vacated because it has become moot while pending review by a higher court, unless the party adversely impacted by the initial decision is not to blame for the ‘mootness,'” according to The Hill.

“I am concerned that contemporary practice related to so-called ‘Munsingwear vacaturs’ has drifted away from the doctrine’s foundational moorings,” Jackson wrote in her four-page dissent.

“In my view, it is crucial that we hold the line and limit the availability of Munsingwear vacatur to truly exceptional cases,” the Justice argued.


The Case

The case revolves around a 17-year-old Missourian who asked for permission to bypass the state’s requirement of notifying her parents about her plans to terminate a pregnancy — a stipulation required by state law because of her age.

After a court clerk denied the the teen’s request and said her parents would be notified about her procedure despite her wishes, the teen traveled to Illinois to get her abortion, according to Politico

The teen sued in 2018, claiming the clerk trampled her constitutional rights. The state of Missouri sided with the clerk’s argument that the official should be immune from the teen’s lawsuit. The 8th Circuit Court agreed with the challenger, who is now an adult.

The Supreme Court’s latest decision sends the case back to an appeals court, The Hill reports. The challenger and the clerk reportedly agreed the case is moot due to Missouri’s near-total abortion ban imposed after the Dobbs ruling last June.

Read more on the shattering overturn of Roe v. Wade below.

RELATED CONTENT: “Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ending Almost 50 Years Of Constitutional Access To Safe Abortion”

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