Supreme Court Saves Abortion, Citing Legal Doctrine Of 'WE F*CKING SAID THAT ALREADY IN 2016!'
HOLY CRAP, WE WON. And, like for the third time in recent weeks, at the Trump Supreme Court? What is even happening, is John Roberts a #ResistanceDad now?
No, he is not. But the ruling just came down in June Medical Services v. Russo, a case about a bullshit Louisiana law imposing insane restrictions on abortion clinics -- one of those "TRAP" laws that's designed to shut down abortion clinics without actually banning abortion -- and by a vote of five to four, Chief Justice John Roberts concurred with the liberals' opinion, which was written by Justice Stephen Breyer, and they struck down the bullshit Louisiana law. Hooray, red state abortions will live to see another day!
This ruling should have been a no-brainer, because back in 2016, the Supreme Court already struck down the same type of law, in Texas, in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. In that case, Texas said abortion doctors had to have admitting privileges at hospitals close by, and also prescribed specifications for the actual physical structures of abortion clinics to make them like ambulatory surgical centers, regulations that would have been nearly impossible for clinics to abide by. It was like Texas legislators were doing some kind of Chip-and-Joanna-On-Bath-Salts thing, demanding abortion clinics renovate everything! All the walls must come down! Must put shiplap on ALL OF IT!
In that case, the Court ruled that such restrictions place an undue burden on the ability of people to get abortions, and therefore the Texas law was unconstitutional. (The "undue burden" standard comes from the landmark Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling of 1992. Anti-choice gargoyles hate that ruling.) Today's ruling in June Medical Services looks like the same damn thing, because of how it is the same damn thing. Louisiana passed a bullshit law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles, but forced birth advocates were really hoping that now that Donald Trump has successfully gotten Gorsuch and Kegstand onto the Court, maybe things would go differently this time.
They did not go differently this time. Yes, even though in Whole Woman's Health the Obama Justice Department was on the side of defending abortion rights, whereas the Trump Justice Department sided with anti-choice idiots in Louisiana. And yes, even with Justice Kegstand on the bench. (Obviously, he wrote a dissent. Wonkette will have a deep dive into the ruling from one of our lawyers, but we are sure Kegstand's dissent was written in almost perfect English.)
You can thank the principle of stare decisis for this ruling. From John Roberts's concurrence:
The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana's law cannot stand under our precedents.
OK, so John Roberts just still really loves precedent. That's great.
He does remind us that he dissented in Whole Women's Health:
I joined the dissent in Whole Woman's Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today however is not whether Whole Woman's Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.
But he just REALLY LOVES PRECEDENT, OK? In other words, maybe if you brought John Roberts a different case that wasn't the samefuckingthing as a case they ruled on five minutes ago, maybe John Roberts might help you out li'l bit more?
As comedian, abortion rights advocate and Wonk pal Lizz Winstead, founder of the Abortion Access Front, told Wonkette in a statement:
"This is a victory, but remember two things. The two Trumpinees voted to strip us of access, and Roberts only voted to shut down the law because he respects precedent. If this had been another law destroying access to abortion that the Court had not ruled on, we may not have had the friendly bedfellow we saw in Roberts. That should be top of mind as we celebrate. There WILL be another case."
And indeed, Roberts says pretty much exactly that in his concurrence, in many flowery words.
Just like he keeps telling Trump idiots -- for instance in the recent DACA case -- that he might be more inclined to vote with them if they stopped bringing him arguments that were such lazy, shitty garbage and like, actually fuckin' applied themselves. Or as Wonkette's headline on that one put it, he'd love to call balls and strikes for you, wingnuts, BUT DAMN, Y'ALL, YOU HAVE TO THROW THE BALL INSIDE THE FUCKIN' STADIUM.
But for today, this is a win. Until the next time we have to have this fight, because we obviously will.
[June Medical Services v. Russo]
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