LEGAL

Supreme Court Takes Up 1st Big Abortion Case Of Trump Era

Mar 4, 2020, 7:04 AM
FILE: The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)...
FILE: The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up the first major abortion case of the Trump era, an election year look at a Louisiana dispute that could reveal how willing the more conservative court is to roll back abortion rights.

The outcome could have huge consequences at a time when several states have passed laws, being challenged in the courts, that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.

The justices on Wednesday are examining a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A federal judge found that just one of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would remain open if the law is allowed to take effect.

Abortion-rights protesters filled the sidewalk in front of the court Wednesday morning. A smaller group of anti-abortion demonstrators stood across the street, some blowing shofars, rams’ horns used in Jewish services, to try to drown out the other side’s speakers.

The Louisiana law is similar to one in Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. Since then, though, Donald Trump was elected president and he appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who have shifted the court to the right. Even with those two additions to the court, Chief Justice John Roberts almost certainly holds the deciding vote.

When the justices temporarily blocked the Louisiana law from taking effect a year ago, Roberts joined the court’s four liberal justices to put it on hold. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were among the four conservatives who would have allowed the law to take effect.

Those preliminary votes do not bind the justices when they undertake a thorough review of an issue, but they often signal how a case will come out.

Roberts has generally voted to uphold abortion restrictions in more than 14 years as chief justice, including in the Texas case four years ago.

It is for now unclear whether Roberts’ outlook on the Louisiana case has been affected by his new role as the court’s swing justice since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, his concern about the court being perceived as a partisan institution and his respect for a prior decision of the court, even one he disagreed with.

The chief justice asked an intriguing question about precedent Tuesday, wondering whether a 10-year-old decision would help determine the outcome of a case about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Do you think that recent precedent should have a binding effect on how the Court addresses this case?” Roberts asked.

Louisiana, the Trump administration and anti-abortion groups have all firmly answered that question with a resounding, “No.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the Louisiana and Texas laws are not identical. “Louisiana abortion providers have a record of non-compliance with basic safety regulations, and now they want a special exemption from generally accepted medical standards that apply to similar surgical procedures in our state,” Landry said.

The Trump administration also argued in court papers that the high court could overrule the Texas case if necessary.

Julie Rikelman, the Center for Reproductive Rights lawyer who will argue the case on behalf of a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, said a trial judge found that abortions in Louisiana are safe and that the law provided no health benefits to women.

“This is a law that restricts a constitutional right for no good reason,” Rikelman said.

The court also has agreed to review whether abortion providers have the right to go into court to represent the interests of women seeking abortions. A ruling in favor of the state’s argument that the providers lack the right to sue in these circumstances, known as third-party standing, would be a devastating blow to abortion rights advocates since doctors and clinics, not individual women who want abortions, file most challenges to abortion restrictions.

A decision is expected by late June.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Legal

House Business and Labor Committee hearing public comments on H.B. 131 (KSL-TV's Michael Houck)...
Michael Houck

Vaccine passport prohibition bill moves forward in its second year

On Tuesday afternoon, HB131, the vaccine passport prohibition bill, received a favorable recommendation from the House Business and Labor Committee with a 10 to 2 vote.
9 days ago
President Joe Biden looks on during a welcome ceremony as part of the '2023 North American Leaders'...
Zeke Miller, Michael Balsamo, and Collen Long

FBI searched Biden home, found documents marked classified

Another search, this one by the FBI at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, has turned up more documents containing classified markings.
12 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre on Octobe...
Meg Kinnard

A side-by-side look at the Trump, Biden classified documents

A side-by-side look at the similarities and differences between the potentially classified materials discovered at tank offices formerly used by President Joe Biden and the Mar-a-Lago seizure from former President Donald Trump.
22 days ago
FILE: The U.S. Supreme Court is shown on April 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsc...
Devan Cole

Supreme Court declines to hear another longshot 2020 election fraud challenge

The Supreme Court declined a case by a Utah man alleging the 2020 election was fraudulent and wished for the removal of several elected officials, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
24 days ago
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)...
Gene Johnson

Seattle schools sue tech giants over social media harm

The public school district in Seattle is suing the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.
26 days ago
A bump stock device, (left) that fits on a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing speed, makin...
Kevin McGill

US appeals court blocks ban on rapid-fire ‘bump stocks’

A federal appeals court has ruled against a Trump administration ban on bump stocks.
27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Supreme Court Takes Up 1st Big Abortion Case Of Trump Era