Supreme Court Disappoints Pro-Lifers, Halts Louisiana Abortion Law

Leroy Wright
February 9, 2019

The divergence between the findings of the district court and the majority is striking-a dissonance in findings of fact inexplicable to these eyes as I had not thought that abortion cases were an exception to the coda that appellate judges are not the triers of fact.

The justices could eventually agree to take up the case and uphold the law. Instead, Kavanaugh's opinion suggests "that he takes the precedent seriously as now binding law".

He noted that the law has a 45-day transition period before taking effect, during which "both the doctors and the relevant hospitals could act expeditiously and in good faith to reach a definitive conclusion about whether those three doctors can obtain admitting privileges", and therefore it was premature to block the law before competing predictions about the law's impact have been proven or disproven. But it has never gone into effect.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights hailed the decision, telling The Washington Post, "The Supreme Court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women".

The divide between states supporting reproductive rights and states seeking to restrict those rights keeps growing, with a raft of new state laws that either protect or undercut abortion access, depending on the state. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the Court in that vote.

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. Without discussing specific justices, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser lamented that the "Supreme Court continues a disappointing trend of avoiding their responsibility on decisions concerning abortion [.] The Court should not prevent state legislators from doing the job they were elected by their constituents to do". "The Supreme Court rightfully refused to uphold a brazen and unconstitutional attempt to ignore identical cases that are meant to shutter abortion clinics in the state, making Roe v. Wade obsolete". The court issued a stay on Thursday evening. It would have placed Roberts right alongside the justice who accused the Clintons of running a political hit campaign against his Supreme Court nomination once credible allegations of sexual assault against him surfaced. "This should be an easy case - all that's needed is a straightforward application of the court's own precedent".

It allows abortion-rights proponents time to bring an appeal to a newly constituted conservative court majority that may nonetheless be willing to reverse course dramatically on the subject of abortion.

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Well, Justice Brett Kavanaugh just made a whole lot of conservatives really, really happy.

Kavanaugh appears to concede that losing all but one provider would likely be an undue burden on abortion rights, an argument I suppose we may see arise should the Court ultimately grant Gee.

Meanwhile, more liberal USA states have begun implementing their own laws to ensure abortion rights for their residents in case the court takes such a dramatic step. But unless and until it does, the future of abortion rights is still in legal jeopardy.

While four justices dissented, Kavanaugh penned the dissent (pdf).

Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, a liberal activist who once sang with Sha Na Na, wrote to Collins on Twitter to tell her to "get ready to explain to your constituents whether you're so dumb & naive you got duped by Kavanaugh or you secretly want Roe overturned".

After the ruling, some Democrats seized on Kavanaugh's vote as proof that he was not following through on his assurances at his confirmation hearing to respect past Supreme Court decisions on abortion. Current cases are asking courts to recognize the unborn as persons.

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