Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law from taking effect

A divided US Supreme Court on Thursday stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer.

"The justices may yet consider whether the 2014 law - requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals - unduly burdens women's access to abortion".

Notably, the other conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch did not join Kavanaugh's dissent, suggesting they may not have agreed entirely with his reasoning.

Kavanaugh argues that since the Louisiana law has a 45-day grace period, then if doctors who perform abortions could get admitting privileges at a hospital then there was no "undue burden" on women.

Although the Supreme Court struck down the Texas law three years ago, the makeup of the court has changed significantly since that time.

Kavanaugh's opinion might at some point be seen as a compromise. The other four judges are members of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had refused to put the law on hold.

Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, said her organization "is disappointed that a bare majority of [justices] continued to stay the enforcement of a commonsense safety measure that will protect Louisiana's women from substandard abortion practitioners".


Collins' office countered such criticism Friday by noting that Democrats responded with "near total silence" after Kavanaugh provided the decisive vote in Planned Parenthood's favor in a December Supreme Court ruling. He said those doctors would need to make a "good faith effort" to demonstrate that the law hinders abortion access.

In cases on what has been called the court's "shadow docket", those in the majority typically do not provide detailed reasoning for why they granted or denied the requests.

Louisiana abortion providers and a district judge who initially heard the case said one or maybe two of the state's three abortion clinics would have to close under the new law. "And if so, then the new law would not impose an undue burden for purposes of" Supreme Court precedent, he wrote. But abortion rights groups who opposed his nomination took it as confirmation that he is hostile to the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. He is, by most measures, a very conservative justice, but he seems determined to keep the court from moving too far right too fast and being perceived as just another forum for partisan politics in Washington. "His decision in the Louisiana case proves us correct".

"In practice, it's enormously restrictive because many hospitals will not give privileges to abortion providers", said Werhan. His conservative views on abortion, said to have been shown when he was a lower court judge, were a major factor in opposition to his nomination to the Court past year by President Trump. In that case, Chief Justice Roberts was in the minority; he would have upheld the Texas provision. The fact of the matter is that four of the five conservative justices on the Supreme Court voted yesterday to assert that Supreme Court precedent can be ignored on this subject (SCOTUS can overrule its own precedent, it typically just takes more logic than "the offender promised they wouldn't do the unconstitutional thing that they already tried to do").

During an appearance on Wednesday at Belmont University College of Law in Tennessee, Roberts spoke of the "great responsibility" that comes with the job. While Justice Roberts is a conservative, he's considered an institutionalist and an incrementalist with a keen desire to protect the court's legitimacy.

The Louisiana law has never gone into effect.

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. Gee, is likely to play out over the next several years under the current composition of the Supreme Court.


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