John Roberts Joins Liberals in Big Abortion Ruling

Supreme Court strikes down restrictive law in Louisiana
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2020 9:27 AM CDT
John Roberts Joins Liberals in Big Abortion Ruling
The Supreme Court is seen in Washington early Monday, June 15, 2020.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era, per the AP. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with his four more liberal colleagues in ruling that the law requiring doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals violates the abortion right the court first announced in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. In two previous abortion cases, Roberts had favored restrictions.

  • Big test: The court struck down a nearly identical law in Texas in 2016, but this case was seen as a significant test because the court has grown more conservative since then, per the Washington Post. Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
  • Precedent: "The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike," Roberts wrote in concurring with the majority decision written by Stephen Bryer. "The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana's law cannot stand under our precedents."
  • Dissent: "Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction," wrote Clarence Thomas, per the Post.
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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