Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law

Kavanaugh Shows Contempt For the Rule of Law in Louisiana Abortion Case

People For the American Way Kavanaugh Shows Contempt For the Rule of Law in Louisiana Abortion Case Paul Gordon

On Thursday evening, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court blocked Louisiana's harsh abortion restrictions from taking effect.

This time, Chief Justice Roberts joined more liberal justices to block the Louisiana law from going into effect. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh opposed the stay. "We look forward to a closer look at the real facts of this case by the Court", Foster said, "and we're confident that in doing so, the Justices will vote to uphold it".

But if the Supreme Court were to overturn its ruling on the Texas law and validate the Louisiana law, it would have effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, yet in a way that won't produce screaming headlines reading "Roe Overturned!"

The law was set to go into effect on Friday.

In September, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of Act 620, the state's law requiring abortion centers to make arrangements for admitting women to hospitals within 30 miles in cases of life-threatening complications, and ordered a lawsuit against the law dismissed, reversing a previous ruling by a federal judge in Baton Rouge.

Roberts was a dissenter in that case, and his actions Thursday was seen in some conservative corners as a betrayal.

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Judge Patrick Higginbotham, a Reagan appointee like Smith, dissented, accusing his colleague of failing to "meaningfully apply" the Supreme Court's prior rulings on abortion. He wrote he was prepared to reverse course if it did in fact burden a woman's access to abortion, as opponents claimed. Roberts is no less committed than ever to seeing abortion rights eliminated. "It does suggest that he is at least in a go-slow mode".

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.

Critics of the law say that the new measure placed an onerous and unnecessary burden on the right to abortion and would have shuttered two of the three clinics that perform the procedure in the state.

Pro-life groups were critical of the majority.

Kavanaugh and Roberts joined the four liberal justices in their December decision not to review the appeals regarding the removal by Kansas and Louisiana of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. He said Louisiana had offered the equivalent of a 45-day grace period, in which doctors could have redoubled their efforts to obtain admitting privileges.

The Supreme Court will now consider whether to grant a writ of certiorari and issue a final opinion in the case.

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"Louisiana legislators on both sides of the aisle enacted this law to protect women from the abortion lobby which repeatedly puts profit over health and safety standards, and has proven incapable of policing itself", she said in a statement.

Kavanaugh's dissent proves this point.

Even if the Court does not overturn Roe, it's still possible for it to whittle away at abortion access by giving constitutional protection to state TRAP laws, like the Louisiana law, which have the practical effect of denying access to abortion.

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"The case largely turns on the intensely factual question whether the three doctors [in Louisiana].can obtain admitting privileges".

So on issues like that one, Roberts will tread carefully, trying to accomplish conservative goals while protecting the Republican Party from the consequences of its worst instincts. That order, called an administrative stay, was necessary so that the justices could review court filings from each party. He said the majority would unnecessarily delay the case based on hypotheticals.

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