During the night of February 7, the Supreme Court correctly instructed Louisiana that it cannot put its restrictive targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws into effect until a lawsuit challenging them can be adjudicated.
Louisiana appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and a three-judge panel voted 2 to 1 to allow the state law to go into effect. The cases in that December 10 action did not address abortion directly but involved whether Medicaid recipients could challenge a state's decision on who qualifies as a provider in the government program that helps with health care expenses. Brett Kavanaugh will vote to strike down Roe v. Wade the minute he gets the opportunity, and activists around the country should already have a strategy ready to pressure Roberts to uphold the Court's legitimacy (again) once this inevitability arrives on the Supreme Court's docket.
"The supreme court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women", said Nancy Northup, the CEO of Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Louisiana clinics had argued that they would have been forced to stop performing abortions immediately and that clinics, once closed, are hard to reopen. The court issued a stay on Thursday evening. That order, called an administrative stay, was necessary so that the justices could review court filings from each party.
"If the Court grants the stay, pro-life advocates should be gravely concerned", French wrote February 5.
It allows abortion-rights proponents time to bring an appeal to a newly constituted conservative court majority that may nonetheless be willing to reverse course dramatically on the subject of abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts has never cast a unilaterally pro-choice vote, and I don't expect him to anytime soon.
It was signed into law in 2014, but a federal judge blocked it, later ruling the law unconstitutional.
The 5-4 vote means the state can not put into effect the law it passed, pending a full review of the case.
Democrats and liberal groups Friday pointed to a Supreme Court ruling in an abortion case to argue that Justice Brett Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, focusing their ire on Maine Sen.
Kavanaugh and Roberts joined the four liberal justices in their December decision not to review the appeals regarding the removal by Kansas and Louisiana of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.
Kavanaugh said that both parties offered competing predictions about how the law would affect the doctors and noted that the higher court, the Fifth Court, concluded that the doctors could likely obtain admitting privileges. Instead, the state would commence a 45-day "regulatory process" that will allow abortion clinics in the state to document the admitting privileges of their physicians who perform abortion. But first, suggests Kavanaugh, the doctors should try to get admitting privileges.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senate Democrats' campaign arm, is also criticizing Collins for her vote in support of Kavanaugh.
Our legal system has rules, and one of those rules is that courts follow precedent even when they disagree with that precedent.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life SBA List, said it was a letdown to see Roberts side with the the pro-abortion left on the court.
The law is very similar to a Texas measure, Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt, that the justices struck down three years ago, arguing that there was no evidence that the requirement for hospital admitting privileges helped protect the health of pregnant women. This Louisiana law is modeled off this Texas law, and the four conservatives who voted to let Louisiana's law stand quite literally ruled that Supreme Court precedent does not have to be obeyed in this arena.