How to read the latest Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights
In 2016, Donald Trump said Roe v. Wade, abortion rights ruling in 1973, would be “automatically” overridden by judges he appointed to the Supreme Court. Three years later, with two of his selections in robes and an increase in challenges for him Red Flying to court, abortion rights supporters fear Mr Trump’s prediction may be close to coming true. But, so far, every time it is reported Red apparently, the Supreme Court has taken a step back. Abortion rights are in trouble, but the conservative justices on the nation’s highest court (with the exception of Clarence Thomas) seem willing to move forward rather than rush in. to a decision that could trigger a dangerous new flashpoint in the culture wars. .
While states like Georgia and Alabama have been passing outrageous abortion bans that are completely out of line with Redthe High Court has been considering whether it should be taken Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, a case involving a more brutal form of anti-abortion law. Box concerns about HEA 1337, which Mike Pence, now vice president, signed into law in 2016 when he was governor of Indiana. In a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision last year, two of the law’s provisions were deemed unconstitutional: a requirement that fetal remains from abortions be buried or cremated; and banning abortions that are solely motivated by the race of the fetus, gender or a diagnosed disability such as Down syndrome. The fetal remains provision lacks a rational basis, the Seventh Circuit held, while undermining the “nondiscrimination” rule Roe’s pledge, reaffirmed in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which states may not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy before viability, or about 24 weeks’ gestation. To prevent women with certain motivations from aborting their fetuses is a “far greater than substantial impediment” to the constitutional right, the Seventh Circuit ruled. These limits are “a complete ban on abortion before viability which the Supreme Court has clearly held cannot be imposed by the state”.
The judges decide which cases to decide, and they can take as long as they want a “petition for certiorari” called “grant” or “deny”. Box has been on the judges’ conference table since early January, and has discussed how to handle it in 14 private conferences. Finally, on May 28, the court issued a strange decision Box. First, by a 7-2 vote, the justices reversed the Seventh Circuit on the question of fetal remains. Under the standard of care used at the appeals court, the justices noted in an anonymous opinion, states can regulate how aborted fetal tissue is disposed of. (The decision left open whether the provision could fail the “undue burden” test. Casey, because it was not so litigated.) Second, by a vote of 9-0, the court refused to press the discrimination claim. Without saying a word about the controversy over aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome, the court simply noted “[o]Only the Seventh Circuit has so far addressed this type of law” and pointed to Rule 10, according to which the justices usually stay on the sidelines when a legal issue “has not to be considered by additional appellate courts”.
The brief 650-word opinion stands in stark contrast to the hundreds of pages of briefs from pro-life and religious groups urging the Supreme Court to save both parts of the Indiana law. The surgical move, coming after months of deliberation, bears the fingerprints of Chief Justice John Roberts, the new central justice on a right-leaning court. Although Chief Justice Roberts worked against it Red as a lawyer in George W. Bush’s Justice Department and having voted to streamline abortion rights, he has become more eager to steer the court away from dangerous waters. With a very political light cast on the court in the Trump era – especially during last autumn’s explosive confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh – the leader seems to be increasingly uncertain. He is willing to wade into a controversy that would bring a 5-4 pro-abortion decision to America just weeks before the party’s national conventions in the summer of 2020.
But Chief Justice Roberts did not make this compromise alone. On the left, he persuaded Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer to uphold the fetal remains law — apparently by arguing whether it could fail under a different litigation strategy. (Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have vacated the lower court’s decision against the fetal-fetal rule.) On the right, the leader assured his fellow conservatives to keep the fire on him. provision of Down syndrome. Justice Samuel Alito and Mr. Trump’s two picks (Justices Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch) quietly joined the per-curiam. Only Justice Clarence Thomas would not be deterred, writing a 20-page tirade linking women who choose to terminate their pregnancies with the eugenics movement of the 20th century. Abortion is “fraught with the potential for eugenic manipulation”, he wrote, and prenatal tests that inform women of fetal abnormalities fuel moral travel. The issue of Supreme Court procedure was the only reason Justice Thomas cited for not voting to accept Indiana’s application – and allow the Down-syndrome provision to take effect. “[F]urther percolation” in the lower courts, he wrote, “may help us review this case”. That review, he noted, should happen “soon”.
Seen alongside the court’s refusal in February to allow anti-abortion clinic regulations to take effect in Louisiana — a move that surprised many observers — this court’s Solomonic decision in Box indicating a High Court that is in no rush to deal with serious challenges Red while the presidential campaign is underway. But abortion rights face a very uncertain future in the hands of the justices in the medium term, and with another Supreme Court appointment for Mr. Trump expected in the coming years, the pace is towards email.Red the truth could be raised.