Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Supreme Court blocks strict Louisiana abortion regulation laws

Supreme Court blocks strict Louisiana abortion regulation laws

The 5-4 vote means the state can not put into effect the law it passed, pending a full review of the case.

Roberts actually voted against the court's 2016 Hellerstedt decision that struck down a Texas law requiring admitting privileges that are exactly the same as those in Louisiana.

Responding to the news, Americans United for Life attorney Rachel Morrison framed the decision as simply giving the justices "more time to look at all of the specific factual nuances in the case", after which "AUL is confident that the Justices will vote to uphold Louisiana's common-sense safety measure that will protect Louisiana women from substandard abortion doctors".

The Louisiana case is June Medical Services v. Gee.

But the federal appeals court in New Orleans rejected those claims, doubting that any clinics would have to close and said the doctors had not tried hard enough to establish relationships with local hospitals.

Abortion lawyers then applied to the U.S. Supreme Court to grant an emergency stay while they prepared a petition for certiorari to request that the nation's highest court hear their case. He said the closing of clinics would not impose driving distances as long as those in Texas, and he said that it was easier to get hospital admitting privileges in Louisiana.

Writing for the majority, Judge Jerry E. Smith conceded that the state had not provided any instance in which a patient sustained "a worse result" because a doctor lacked hospital admitting privileges. "Driving distances will not increase in Louisiana". "This should be an easy case - all that's needed is a straightforward application of the Court's own precedent". That will come later, when the Court decides if it will take the case. The state law "is constitutional and consistent with our overall regulatory scheme for surgical procedures", he said.

While four justices dissented, Kavanaugh penned the dissent (pdf).

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After Justice Brett Kavanaugh was condemned on Thursday for declaring "war" on Roe v. Wade by dissenting against the Supreme Court's decision to block a Louisiana anti-abortion law, reproductive rights groups quickly turned their ire toward Sen. One of the four doctors has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. But it was the clearest sign yet of the role Roberts intends to play as he guides a more conservative court with two new members appointed by President Donald Trump. "And the reality is that requiring the doctors to have admitting privileges doesn't confer any real health benefits".

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

A district court judge had struck down the Louisiana law because he found it would have resulted in the closure of at least one, and perhaps two, of the state's three abortion clinics, and left the state with no more than two doctors who could meet the law's requirements.

Tu noted that the only precedent that Kavanaugh referenced in his dissent was Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a 2016 Supreme Court case that said states weren't allowed to place an "undue burden" women seeking an abortions.

During Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, he put on a dog-and-pony show while trying to paint a picture of a justice simply interested in the law, and as his quote at the top of this story demonstrates, he made it seem as if he would respect precedent.

Only Justice Kavanaugh wrote a dissent explaining his reasons, and they had absolutely no proper basis.

William Jacobson, a Cornell law professor and conservative legal commentator, concluded it was "unlikely the law ever is going to be allowed to go into effect in the current configuration of the court".

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