This law professor explains the Supreme Court’s plan to kill abortion rights

In an order issued Thursday (Feb. 7), the high court blocked enforcement of a Louisiana law to require that an abortion doctor have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Defenders of the Louisiana law say it does not include the health and safety requirements of the Texas law and the situation in the state does not burden women seeking abortions like the Texas mandate does. Had Roberts sided with the other conservatives, "it would have been a signal to Republican judges throughout the country that the Supreme Court may not enforce decisions that the GOP disagrees with", as Ian Millhiser put it.

Newly appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in his individual dissent urging the law to go into effect, tipped his hand, Litman continues - he will rely on "flimsy distinctions" and "ostensibly procedural obstacles" to make obtaining an abortion impossible in states that desire to do so.

She insisted in an October speech on the Senate floor that "his views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly" to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that recognized women's right to choose to have an abortion. In rejecting it, the Court said that the law was not medically justified and constituted an "undue burden" on abortion access.

And, in the death penalty case, Justice Elena Kagan wrote a powerful dissent that said her conservative colleagues were so intent on hastening executions that they were willing to overlook a "core principle" of religious neutrality. Seated from left: Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito.

In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.

In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote that if the remaining three doctors could not obtain admitting privileges and one or two of the clinics had to close, "the new law might be deemed to impose an undue burden".

June Medical Services v. Gee is the first abortion rights case to come before the Roberts Court since Kavanaugh's embarrassing confirmation fight-and no, the Planned Parenthood Medicaid funding case doesn't count, Susan Collins. Has the chief justice had a change of heart and grown to understand that abortion rights without access are meaningless?

Even if the Court does not overturn Roe, it's still possible for it to whittle away at abortion access by giving constitutional protection to state TRAP laws, like the Louisiana law, which have the practical effect of denying access to abortion. If they fail, they could return to court, Kavanaugh said.

Since then a number of conservative states have enacted new abortion restrictions that could lead to legal challenges that allow the Supreme Court to sharply curtail the right to abortion procedures. They argued it was too identical to the 2016 law that the high court already had struck down.

Some of those measures, which provide for late-term abortion in the cases where the health of the mother is in jeopardy, have generated fierce opposition from anti-abortion groups.

Thursday night's Louisiana ruling may have only delayed the coming upheaval. The law was challenged nearly immediately upon passage and had been held from taking effect by legal challenges since it was passed.

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.

The annual cutoff for cases has passed, so this matter would be heard late this year, with a decision likely in early 2020.

Translation: The Fifth Circuit majority threw the rule of law and proper appeals court procedure out the window.

One reason to grant a stay is because there is a substantial likelihood that the Court will ultimately take the case and then reverse the lower court.

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