Politics Supreme Court sidesteps abortion cases, shortly after striking Louisiana restrictions

19:07  02 july  2020
19:07  02 july  2020 Source:   politico.com

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

  Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic. © Michael A. Mccoy/Getty Images Anti-abortion demonstrators protesting in front of the Supreme Court in Washington last week. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voting with the court’s four-member liberal wing but not adopting its reasoning. The chief justice said respect for precedent compelled him to vote with the majority. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to take up several abortion cases, just days after striking down a Louisiana law in the first major abortion decision since President Donald Trump’s two appointees joined the bench.

a group of people holding a sign: Anti-abortion activists stage a protest in front of the Supreme Court on June 25. © Getty Images Anti-abortion activists stage a protest in front of the Supreme Court on June 25.

The justices, citing their decision in the Louisiana case, sent back to a lower federal court two challenges to an Indiana law, signed in 2016 by then-Gov. Mike Pence, that among other restrictions requires an ultrasound and an 18-hour waiting period before an abortion. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had previously blocked the restrictions from taking effect, but the Supreme Court is now asking them to reconsider the decision.

USA: Supreme Court invalidates restrictive abortion law

 USA: Supreme Court invalidates restrictive abortion law © NICHOLAS KAMM Activists against abortion before the Supreme Court in Washington, June 29, 2020 The United States Supreme Court on Monday invalidated a law on Louisiana very restrictive on abortion which had the value of a test for the high court deeply reworked by Donald Trump. The text, adopted in 2014, aimed to oblige doctors performing abortions to obtain a license to practice in a hospital located less than 50 kilometers from the place of the intervention.

Indiana in the cases is also challenging whether abortion clinics have the legal standing to fight such restrictions in court, after the Supreme Court narrowly agreed Louisiana clinics could challenge their state's law.

The justices on Thursday also turned away a case challenging whether governments can shield areas in front of abortion clinics from protests, as well as a separate Indiana challenge over the state's effort to revoke a South Bend abortion clinic's license to operate.

The court's decision to send the Indiana cases back for further consideration suggests justices aren't eager to immediately jump back into the national fight over abortion — and that the Louisiana decision may have far-reaching effects in the battle over the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Science prevails in Supreme Court ruling on abortion law that provided no medical benefit

  Science prevails in Supreme Court ruling on abortion law that provided no medical benefit The Supreme Court followed scientific research and evidence when it came to abortion in Louisiana. All courts and lawmakers should do the same.With this victory, though, we must remember that there still exist abortion restrictions rooted not in evidence but rather in ideology. These laws create deep inequities in our health care system that we must address to achieve real justice for people across the United States.

It also indicates that Chief Justice John Roberts' vote with the court's liberal judges to overturn the Louisiana law earlier this week wasn't the win for abortion rights advocates that many assumed. Roberts said his vote in the case was bound by precedent, since the court in a 2016 case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, rejected a nearly identical Texas law that also required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

"The liberal justices said courts have to balance burdens versus benefits when ruling on abortion laws," explained Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University. "Roberts said he didn’t agree, that a law could be completely pointless, but as long as it’s not burdensome it can be constitutional. That departs significantly from the precedent in Whole Woman’s Health and means courts going forward could be more likely to side with the government."

Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to Abortion-Clinic Bubble Zones

  Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to Abortion-Clinic Bubble Zones The U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed abortion opponents by leaving intact a precedent that lets states and cities prevent people from approaching women without consent as they are entering a clinic. © Bloomberg The U.S. Supreme Court building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. House Democrats voted last week for the first time in history to make the U.S. capital a state, a mostly symbolic move that highlights some of the issues of race and equality driving election-year politics.

The Louisiana case dealt with another issue — legal standing for abortion providers, who regularly lead challenges to state restrictions on the procedure. Roberts agreed with the court's four liberal justices to find the clinics had standing, but his four conservative colleagues said they would have denied standing, effectively invalidating the lawsuit and potentially dozens like it nationwide.

The ongoing legal fight over Indiana's 2016 abortion restrictions gives the courts another chance to debate the standing question.

The state's restrictions briefly took effect in 2016 before pieces of it were halted by a federal judge months later. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision in July 2018, which prompted Indiana's request for Supreme Court review.

The justices spent an unusually long time deciding whether to take up the Indiana law. In May 2019, they issued a decision addressing some pieces of the law without first holding oral arguments. The court upheld a requirement for fetal remains from abortions to be buried or cremated rather than disposed of as medical waste, but it blocked another provision that would have banned abortions based on a fetus' sex, race or disability.

Justice Roberts plays the long game

  Justice Roberts plays the long game To state that Chief Justice John Roberts has disappointed conservatives may be an understatement. He provided key votes in decisions rejecting the White House efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and uphold a Louisiana abortion regulation. These votes, Curt Levey lamented in the Washington Post, "mark the death knell for conservative hopes" that the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court "would finally produce aFirst, aside from these immigration and abortion decisions, the Supreme Court has produced decisions which reliably accord with those goals of conservatives. Consider the decision in the Seila Law case, released the same day as the Louisiana abortion ruling.

Indiana argues that the contested policy is valid because it pairs two types of abortion regulations the court has separately allowed: a waiting period and an ultrasound requirement. Planned Parenthood and other groups challenging the law say combining those requirements forces women to make two separate trips to an abortion provider, posing a sometimes insurmountable hardship for low-income and rural patients.

Anti-abortion and religious groups who helped fuel Trump’s 2016 campaign said this week's Louisiana decision, while disappointing, underscored the importance of electing Trump to a second term so he could continue remaking the federal judiciary. Echoing that message, Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter said this week's ruling made clear: "We need more Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

But anti-abortion groups said the court’s 5-4 decision will be a motivating factor for progressive voters because it revealed the risk that abortion rights could be whittled away under Trump’s presidency. More abortion-related lawsuits are winding through the courts, including challenges to a recent spate of virtual bans that conservatives hope would trigger a direct Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Video: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down strict Louisiana abortion law (Reuters - US Video Online)

Chief Justice John Roberts injured head in fall during walk, Court says

  Chief Justice John Roberts injured head in fall during walk, Court says Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight last month after suffering a head injury from a fall while walking near his home, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said. The incident was first reported by the Washington Post late Tuesday based on a tip from a witness. The court subsequently confirmed it happened June 21.

Supreme Court: Unprecedented term closes with mixed rulings for Trump .
After a frenetic few weeks, the Supreme Court gaveled out Thursday, bringing to a close an unprecedented term that defied expectations and shifted perceptions of the court in the heat of an election year. © Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images The justices delivered some surprising wins to liberals -- and infuriated conservatives who wanted and expected much more than they got. President Donald Trump bemoaned his fate at times, but got a mixed bag in two cases concerning his bid to shield his financial documents. The court blocked House subpoenas in one case, but rejected Trump's broad claims of immunity in another.

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