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John Roberts Joins Liberal Justices in Ruling on Louisiana Abortion Law

John Roberts Joins Liberal Justices in Ruling on Louisiana Abortion Law

Thursday's order from the Supreme Court offers nothing as to the merits of the Louisiana law, which means that for all we know, Roberts' opinion on the constitutionality of such measures hasn't changed at all from his 2016 Whole Woman's Health vote. The court's action, however, is only a pause.

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 four more conservative justices, including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, would have allowed it to take effect. Brett Kavanaugh will vote to strike down Roe v. Wade the minute he gets the opportunity, and activists around the country should already have a strategy ready to pressure Roberts to uphold the Court's legitimacy (again) once this inevitability arrives on the Supreme Court's docket. Instead, the state would commence a 45-day "regulatory process" that will allow abortion clinics in the state to document the admitting privileges of their physicians who perform abortion.

Defenders of the Louisiana law say it does not include the health and safety requirements of the Texas law and the situation in the state does not burden women seeking abortions like the Texas mandate does.

He added that if they cannot, "then even [Louisiana] acknowledges that the law as applied might be deemed to impose an undue burden".

The state law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a demand that some argued would have shuttered multiple abortion clinics. "Rather, the question should be whether the Louisiana law confers any benefits relative to the cost imposed on abortion". "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". "Essentially, he argues that there isn't yet any evidence that the Louisiana law will have any immediate effect on abortion access".

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So what explains the differences in the vote? He noted that abortions performed in Louisiana are "safe procedures" with "very few complications" and that in the "extremely rare" cases where serious complications arise, Louisiana law requires clinics to have transfer agreements with local hospitals, where patients are routinely treated by hospital staff. Attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights, the advocacy organization representing the plaintiffs challenging the law, initially asked the Roberts Court to stay, or pause, the Fifth Circuit decision while they filed their cert petition asking the Court to consider taking the case.

They blamed the four-term ME senator for providing Kavanaugh with the opportunity to join the losing side of a 5-4 ruling that blocked proposed restrictions on who could perform abortions in Louisiana. "Here, only one doctor at one clinic is now unable to obtain privileges", Judge Jerry Smith wrote for the panel, reported the Wall Street Journal. He wrote he was prepared to reverse course if it did in fact burden a woman's access to abortion, as opponents claimed.

"Texas doctors could not gain privileges, all but 8 of 40 clinics closed".

"If the supreme court allows this law to stand, blatantly denying its own recent precedent, it throws into disarray the whole system of judicial review", said Katherine Ragsdale, the interim CEO of the National Abortion Federation. Smith put the number instead at "at most 30 percent". And, it could show how these Justices will come down on the greatest issue of our time.

The high court's approach by granting the stay "will take far longer and be no more beneficial than the approach" he suggests, Kavanaugh said. Of the 11 active Republican appointees, only one, a George W. Bush appointee, voted to rehear the case.


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