Roberts Joins Liberals To Block Louisiana Abortion Law

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2019

Kavanaugh's opinion argues that if the other three doctors aren't able to get admitting privileges, that could present an "undue burden" to abortion access (the standard set up under Roe v. Wade and recently affirmed in the Texas case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt).

While reproductive rights advocates expressed relief on Thursday after the Supreme Court temporarily blocked an extreme Louisiana anti-abortion law that could have left the state with just one doctor authorized to perform the procedure, legal experts and women's groups warned that Justice Brett Kavanaugh's dissent in the case confirmed fears that he is dead-set on overturning Roe v. Wade.

"People need to know that we're not doing politics".

Meanwhile, more liberal U.S. states have begun implementing their own laws to ensure abortion rights for their residents in case the court takes such a dramatic step.

In the Louisiana case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the state law is substantively different from the Texas measure and should be upheld because it does not "impose a substantial burden on a large fraction of women" in the state. That vote, though, likely had nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with Justice Roberts understanding his job.

Maybe the four abortion docs in the state could just get admitting privileges and the whole thing would be NBD for women seeking abortions. The court's action, however, is only a pause. He also sided on Thursday night with the four other conservative justices in allowing the execution of a Muslim convicted murderer in Alabama.

But Kavanaugh's decision on the Louisiana law appears to run counter to one the court made recently about a similar Texas law, a move that convinced pro-choice supporters to express alarm that Roe could be in trouble. And they are particularly incensed at Collins, who delivered a 44-minute floor speech in October declaring her support for Kavanaugh.

More news: Hopes raised: Can the second Trump-Kim summit end the Korean War?

Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's two high-court appointees, are among six Trump-nominated judges who voted to let the law take effect, a sign that the president is carrying through on a campaign pledge to put abortion-rights opponents on the bench.

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court granted February 7 a temporary stay blocking the law while it is adjudicated in lower courts. The full court, considered one of the most conservative of the regional appeals courts, voted not to reconsider the panel's decision.

"With tonight's decision, the Supreme Court continues a disappointing trend of avoiding their responsibility on decisions concerning abortion", she said.

The Louisiana clinics had argued that they would have been forced to stop performing abortions immediately and that clinics, once closed, are hard to reopen.

The new justice didn't join three colleagues who are clearly opposed to abortion. If it does, as seems likely, a ruling on the constitutionality of the Louisiana law would likely come next year.

This is something to keep an eye on, as Roberts has voted to restrict abortion access in the past, but it's clear that he draws the line at being a transparently hypocritical hack who values conservative activism more than judicial precedent. He says SCOTUS should not block the law because Louisiana claims it won't enforce it too "aggressively" at first. Chief Justice William Rehnquist had been a fierce critic of the Supreme Court decision that requires police officers to advise arrestees of their Miranda rights to remain silent and have a lawyer represent them. Current cases are asking courts to recognize the unborn as persons. In March, the justices will consider whether to impose limits on drawing electoral districts for partisan political gain.

The Louisiana case is June Medical Services v. Gee.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article