Chief Justice John Roberts is searching for a compromise to preserve some basic right to abortion while moving it earlier in pregnancy, perhaps as early as 15 weeks. But based on a recent oral argument, it seems unlikely that any of the other justices is interested. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in particular, seemed to telegraph a willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether.

In today’s historic oral argument about the Mississippi ban, the court’s liberals predictably emphasized the value of following precedent and hence not overturning Roe. The hard-line conservatives made it clear that they do not like the "undue burden” on abortion standard that the court articulated in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (thus Justice Neil Gorsuch) — and that the viability line doesn’t make much sense if the fetus has an interest in life (per Justice Samuel Alito).

The potential swing voters, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, seemed pretty set on making history by overturning Roe. Neither engaged Roberts’s hints about compromise. Kavanaugh asked Mississippi’s lawyer to clarify that the state was not arguing for a constitutional ban on abortion but merely saying that abortion law should be left to the states. Barrett asked the state’s lawyer whether upholding the Mississippi law would threaten rights to contraception or same-sex marriage.