Another Roberts Stunner: Abortion Restriction Law Shot Down

UPDATE: Reproductive rights advocacy group Cobalt’s statement:

Cases like June Medical Services v. Russo illustrate the importance of having access to abortion without limits or cutoffs. Louisiana is one of the most restrictive states in terms of abortion laws and there are just 3 abortion clinics in the state. Laws like admitting privileges, waiting periods, and mandatory counseling are designed to push care out of reach and will force people to seek abortion care later in pregnancy. Colorado must remain a place where people can seek abortion care when the patient’s home state has failed them.

We must defeat the abortion ban on the ballot in Colorado this November.

And we must replace Sen Cory Gardner with a Senator who reflects our Colorado values on abortion access and reproductive rights. Both of the Trump Justices Sen Gardner confirmed to the Court were on the wrong side of today’s decision. Justice Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. Sen Gardner’s votes to confirm these Justices flagrantly ignored Colorado voters and values, and we will hold him accountable.


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Hill reports on another Supreme Court decision today with a very high probability of enraging the religious right:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana abortion law, handing a win to abortion rights advocates who feared the conservative court would break with past rulings to rein in protections that emerged from the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

The justices voted 5-4 to invalidate Louisiana’s admitting-privilege law in the first major abortion ruling of the Trump era, which came after the court struck down a nearly identical Texas law four years ago.

The ruling, which underscored the razor-thin voting margin over abortion rights, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s four liberals, is likely to make future Supreme Court decisions over a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy an even more pressing issue in the coming presidential election.

In this case, Colorado’s Justice Neil Gorsuch and Trump’s other Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted to uphold Louisiana’s trial-balloon challenge to abortion rights. For Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who squeaked into office in 2014 in part by evading and even weaponing the issue of abortion via a much-analyzed reverse psychology sympathy ploy, the votes of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are damning proof for Democrats that Gardner poses a very real and proximal “threat to abortion rights.”

On the other hand, this case is the latest demonstration of the increasingly pivotal role on the Court played by Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005. From the Affordable Care Act to LGBT rights and now on abortion, Roberts has emerged as a crucial firewall against the rightward lurch by the Court that has been broadly feared ever since Republican treachery forestalled the appointment of Merrick Garland in 2016.

With rumors continuing to spread in Washington about retirements from the Court both awaiting and trying to beat out the November elections, voters can add the future of the Supreme Court to the fate of the nation, the world, and all the other weighty questions this election will serve as a history-defining referendum for.

But, you know, no pressure or anything America.


8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. kwtree says:

    Rule! Of! Law! Rah! Rah! Rah!

    I don't think Roberts has shifted ideologically  to the left or anything- but he truly does respect the rule of  law and legal precedent, which is rare in the GOP these days. This is a hanging-on-by-the-fingernails victory, but I'll take it.

    What "rumors are spreading in Washington" about whose retirements?



  2. Genghis says:

    This just in from the Internet Commission on Butthurt Events Tracking:

    There is a major Internet Butthurt event under way, centered in Eastern North America. Preliminary reports suggest classification CLASS ONE – VOLCANIC BUTTHURT. Full emergency protocols recommended. This is not a drill.

    REPEAT: major Internet Butthurt event, centered in the Eastern North America. Preliminary reports suggest CLASS ONE – VOLCANIC BUTTHURT.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    A principled Supreme Court Chief Justice:

    Roberts’s vote was all the more striking because he dissented in the Texas case. He said he continues “believe that the [Texas] case was wrongly decided.” But he said the question was whether to “adhere to it in the present case.”

    It was perhaps the most dramatic example of Roberts’s new role as the pivotal member of the court, and indicated that while he supports restrictions on abortion, he is unready at this point to overhaul the court’s jurisprudence supporting the right of a woman to choose the procedure.


  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    Roberts, to his credit, professed respect for precedent. But didn't the ditzy Susan Collins tell us that Brett Kavanaugh assured her that he respected precedent when she announced her vote to confirm Kavanaugh? Was she not telling us the truth?

    • Early Worm says:

      Much more likely, Kavanaugh lied to her.

      Woodward wanted to expose Kavanaugh

      In 1998, Kavanaugh, then part of Ken Starr's team investigating Clinton, anonymously leaked information to Bob Woodward. In 1999, Kavanaugh publically denied that he was Woodward's source. In other words, Kavanaugh lied. Woodward was pissed.

      The Washington Post killed a story about this deception that was going to run in 2018, during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh is a paranoid partisan with no respect for the truth or the rule of law – in other words, a fine representation of the modern Republican party. 

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    From Cobalt’s statement, written above:

    “we must defeat the abortion ban on the ballot in Colorado in November…..”

    I have fond recollections of the votes in 2008, 2010, 2014, when the “uterus control crowd” got their fat butts whipped by the people. They haven’t learned anything. Time to remind them again.

    Coloradans don’t want no stinkin’ far right wing religious zealots trying to control the bedroom activities that occur between consenting adults.

  6. Gilpin Guy says:

    The unmasked 'every life is precious except blacks and the old' crowd are really going to be flummoxed by this decision.  Their catechism has been to lie, cheat, steal and doing every unChristian thing possible to stack the Supreme Court with activist conservative judges and then they will achieve total control over women.  This one is going to leave a mark on their belief system and sense of moral superiority.

  7. harrydoby says:

    Slate has two articles analyzing Robert's ruling.  Neither is very comforting

    John Roberts’ Opinion Preserving Abortion Rights Is Also a Threat to Abortion Rights

    The chief justice noted that “I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided.” He then pointed out that no party in June Medical “has asked us to reassess the constitutional validity” of Casey. Here, Roberts strongly suggests that he would be open to overruling Casey if a state asked him to. But because Louisiana did not challenge that decision, Roberts felt obliged to stand by it.

    Roberts Isn’t a Liberal. He’s a Perfectionist Who Wants to Win

    But the drumbeat that fêtes Roberts as a “liberal” or a “moderate” or “evolving” fails to capture what he is. And he is a lifelong conservative, an avowed abortion opponent, and a supporter of capacious religious liberties that will swallow crucial civil liberties who also still cares—mercifully—about appearances, institutions, truth, stability, the appearance of adulthood and competence, and above all, the long game. This decision was a small one, in response to an audacious law that should have been struck down without a hearing. At some point, conservative legal activists, and Justice Department lawyers doing Bill Barr’s crazed bidding, will stop passing audacious new rules that appear to have been written in green crayon on the walls of a playpen. At some point, they will lawyer carefully and effectively again, as John Roberts has been doing since he was a very careful young lawyer himself. When that happens, they will have five votes at the high court, and John Roberts will have shown them how to do the big one

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