Gov. Edwards releases statement after Supreme Court blocks La. abortion clinic law

Clay Curtis
February 9, 2019

These votes are the ultimate proof that the non-Roberts conservatives view the Supreme Court as a political body, and adhering to legal precedent comes secondary to enforcing the conservative view of the law. And yet, somehow, Justice Kavanaugh found three pages of reasons why Louisiana doesn't really have to follow the law of the land. Instead, Kavanaugh's opinion suggests "that he takes the precedent seriously as now binding law".

"The most astounding aspect of Kavanaugh's dissent is its credulous belief in Louisiana's ostensible benevolence toward abortion clinics", Stern wrote. The law was challenged nearly immediately upon passage and had been held from taking effect by legal challenges since it was passed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed it, holding in a 2-1 decision that this Louisiana law was different than the Texas law invalidated in WWH and that this law does not run afoul of Supreme Court precedent. Louisiana's law is strikingly similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down in 2016.

Louisiana argues that the law is necessary to provide a higher level of physician competence, but critics say there is no medical justification for the law and it amounts to a veiled attempt to unlawfully restrict abortion. 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". If Whole Woman's Health is going to be overturned, in other words, a rogue Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals won't be the one to do it.

The Supreme Court recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion and legalized the procedure nationwide in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The court issued a stay on Thursday evening. The Court's majority voted to stay enforcement of Louisiana's law pending anticipated further litigation. That decision, and the subsequent refusal to hear it en banc, is a flawless example of the courts going off on its own to advance a political agenda-in this case, an anti-choice one.

"By construing "undue burden" only as applied to specific doctors (and thus women), Justice Kavanaugh's logic would allow all kinds of pointless regulations, as long as doctors could somehow comply with them", Michaelson notes.

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"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.

Yet it is unavoidable that the fate of reproductive autonomy as a fundamental right rests in the hands of one man: Chief Justice John Roberts.

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. "Gee-Order.pdf">dissent that rejected the abortionists' complaint on technical grounds, while appearing to concede their underlying premises about the "undue burden" standard.

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".

States on the other side of the divide are fighting back to preserve access to reproductive health care. The full court, considered one of the most conservative of the regional appeals courts, voted not to reconsider the panel's decision. Justices could decide to bring the case before the court as soon as this spring.

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