Kavanaugh Dissent Opens Door for Abortion Restrictions

by Garry Watts February 11, 2019, 0:47
Kavanaugh Dissent Opens Door for Abortion Restrictions

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices in putting a hold on the law, pending further review of the case.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the ruling to grant a temporary stay of the statute.

"Compared to the majority opinion Justice Kennedy joined three years ago striking down a deeply similar Texas law, the fact that Justice Kavanaugh dissented drives home that, on abortion cases, the chief justice is now the swing vote", Vladeck said.

Roberts may have been influenced by the claim by lower court judges who had dissented in the Louisiana case, arguing that the law had been upheld by their colleagues in defiance of the precedent that the Supreme Court had set in 2016 in ruling the Texas law unconstitutional. If this is a display of Kavanaugh's Solomonic wisdom, I'd honestly hate to see how he resolves disputes on those sports teams he's so fond of coaching.

The Supreme Court is now likely to take up the clinic's appeal of a lower court ruling allowing the law, with a decision on the merits possible in 2020, just months before the USA presidential election. Even if that doctor worked seven days a week, the judge said, the physician could not provide for the 10,0000 women a year seeking abortions in the state. In other words, Kavanaugh would let play out in Louisiana what originally played out in Texas before the Supreme Court eventually blocked HB 2-and thousands of people who needed abortions would have found themselves scrambling or unable to access them entirely.

Since then a number of conservative states have enacted new abortion restrictions that could lead to legal challenges that allow the Supreme Court to sharply curtail the right to abortion procedures.

In cases on what has been called the court's "shadow docket", those in the majority typically do not provide detailed reasoning for why they granted or denied the requests. 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. Together we can defeat the abortion behemoth and defend life in the next big abortion case.

Critics argued the law provided no real medical benefit to patients and said abortion providers often struggled to secure admitting privileges as a result of local hospitals' opposition to abortion. Susan Collins everything from "a raging fool" to an utter dupe for helping to put him on the Supreme Court.

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That the case made its way to the United States supreme court at all shows the power of federal appeals court judges, which the Trump administration has made a priority of confirming. The fact of the matter is that four of the five conservative justices on the Supreme Court voted yesterday to assert that Supreme Court precedent can be ignored on this subject (SCOTUS can overrule its own precedent, it typically just takes more logic than "the offender promised they wouldn't do the unconstitutional thing that they already tried to do").

The court on February 1 temporarily blocked the Lousiana law, which was due to go into effect on February 4, while the justices decided how to proceed.

The justices still may hear the case. As I said earlier, I don't expect Roberts to cast a pro-choice vote when it counts.

"If this law goes into effect, most women in Louisiana will have nowhere to go in the state to access abortion and will be forced to travel to other states", the center said in a tweet Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court could, at some point, reaffirm its support for Roe and reject any infringement of its protections.

One of the factors that the Justices consider when they are asked to block a law is whether the challenger is likely to win the case after the measure is subjected to full review.

There are few high-profile cases on the court's docket this year, seemingly by design, after Kavanaugh's tumultuous confirmation hearings.

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