Supreme Court Disappoints Pro-Lifers, Halts Louisiana Abortion Law

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  Associated Press  File

The majority of five justices included Chief Justice John Roberts, who leans conservative but has become the closest thing to a swing vote in controversial cases since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who frequently broke ties on the divided court. Given that Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas did not sign on to Kavanaugh's dissent, their motives are a bit more hard to ascertain (yet still pretty obvious given their conservative view of abortion).

"That is the standard the Supreme Court set in the Texas case for when a law is unconstitutional, but the court of appeals said that it could imagine how it might be plausible to think the requirement might benefit some women". If the Court decides not to take up the case, the measure would go into full effect.

In an order issued Thursday (Feb. 7), the high court blocked enforcement of a Louisiana law to require that an abortion doctor have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

It would have been far more telling if he had allowed the law to go into effect. Roberts dissented in that case.

Some writers on the right are also (and more understandably) seeing dire omens in the Court's decision this week.

Has Roberts "committed himself to reaffirming Whole Woman's Health or any of the court's other abortion decisions?" Given the uncertainty, other states should follow New York's lead and codify abortion rights. "It does suggest that he is at least in a go-slow mode".

The court will nearly certainly agree to give the case a full review in the autumn, and at that point it could issue a formal opinion affirming a lower-court's decision to uphold the law - and opening the door for similar restrictions to be enacted in other states.

Louisiana has only three clinics with a total of four doctors who perform abortions, only one of whom has hospital admitting privileges. Some women, especially from the southern part of the state, would have to travel hours to obtain a procedure - an "undue burden", say pro-abortion rights groups.

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If he ends up voting to invalidate the Louisiana law, Roberts wouldn't be the first chief justice to put institutional concerns above his own views.

Clark pointed out that during Kavanaugh's confirmation process, "Planned Parenthood was Justice Kavanaugh's No. 1 opponent".

In his dissent on the Louisiana case, Kavanaugh said the stay should be denied while three abortion doctors affected by the case seek admitting privileges at hospitals. I reached to Ariane de Vogue, a Supreme Court and legal reporter, for answers. His vote Thursday was not a vote for abortion rights as much it was a message to the lower courts to "knock that shit off" in trying to unilaterally undercut Supreme Court precedent by ignoring Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt and not going through the proper channels.

Kavanaugh's opinion might at some point be seen as a compromise.

The ad recounts Collins' comments ahead of her decisive vote to confirm Kavanaugh a year ago, in which she recited the judge's assurances that he is not looking to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Even as a bare majority of the Supreme Court made the correct decision, Justice Kavanaugh found a way to prove conclusively what everyone already knows: that he intends to use his position on the court to attack reproductive freedom", People for the American Way executive vice president Marge Baker said in a statement.

Domineque Ray, who brutally raped and murdered a 15-year-old in 1995, had asked prison officials to allow an imam to be in the death chamber for his execution. That decision, as well as the Louisiana case, could come in the spring of 2020, fodder for a presidential campaign in which the court could play an outsized role. The vote was 5-4, and Roberts voted with the conservative bloc in the minority.

As is typical of orders of this nature, the majority did not give reasons for granting the request.

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