Supreme Court Disappoints Pro-Lifers, Halts Louisiana Abortion Law

Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law by 5-4 vote as Roberts joins liberals

In Thursday's decision, justices were asked to look at a Louisiana law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

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.

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion on the case, arguing that the law should have been allowed to go into effect because the state had agreed to extend an additional 45 days for abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges, the Associated Press reported.

Supreme court precedent is supposed to guide appeals court judges, but in a decision advocates called "rogue", the conservative fifth circuit in Louisiana defied the supreme court's recent decision and voted to allow the law to go into effect. Three years ago, Roberts was in dissent when the court struck down a Texas law that is strikingly similar to the blocked Louisiana measure. "Precedent" takes a backseat to conservative ideology, and Kavanaugh joining three other conservative justices to rule that Louisiana does not have to adhere to the precedent set in the Texas case is the clearest indicator of how the conservative Supreme Court really views its job. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who supported Kavanaugh's nomination previous year and faces a tough 2020 reelection.

The U.S. Supreme Court's latest action in an abortion-related case again has prompted pro-life Americans to wonder whether a majority even exists to protect unborn children and their mothers. "But we're always looking to see how we can protect the health and safety of women in our state", said Clapper.

Roberts, one must understand, voted to uphold the Texas TRAP law in the original case. In our system of justice, the model is that appeals courts only decide questions of law based on the factual record before them.

Thursday night's Louisiana ruling may have only delayed the coming upheaval.

"We're elated - but not in the sense of uncorking the champagne", said Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Travis Tu, who has helped lead the fight against the Louisiana law. "And if so, then the new law would not impose an undue burden".

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. Roberts may be content to rule on behalf of conservative causes, but as chief justice, he really has tried to stay out of the political spotlight, sometimes to the ire of conservatives.

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.

The full Fifth Circuit then denied abortion providers' petition to rehear the case en banc with all of the court's current judges involved.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded the Supreme Court's stay, saying in written comments, "While this particular ruling thankfully falls on the right side of history, it illustrates a sobering reminder: the thread that women's rights hang by is dangerously thin in so many places across the country". Why not just vote to let the Louisiana law take effect now if he's just going to do so later?

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives for the swearing in ceremony of Neil Gorsuch as an associate Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2017.

The State represents, moreover, that Louisiana will not "move aggressively to enforce the challenged law" during the transition period, Objection to Emergency Application for Stay 2, and further represents that abortion providers will not "immediately be forced to cease operations", id., at 25.

Lyle Denniston has been writing about the Supreme Court since 1958. On Thursday, Roberts cast the vote to block the Louisiana law.

The Supreme Court is the final defense against unsafe and unconstitutional attacks on basic rights and freedoms that affect the most important parts of our lives.

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