A Supreme Court case currently before the newly-entrenched conservative majority could give us some insight as to whether or not the nation’s high court would be willing to considerably limit the abortion laws currently on the books. As such, the case – which involves Louisiana’s right to regulate abortion providers in the state – could be a window into how willing this version of the Supreme Court would be to take up challenges to Roe v. Wade and perhaps even overturn that long-sustained decision.
From the Associated Press:
The high court is expected to decide in the next few days whether the state can begin enforcing a law requiring doctors who work at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. It was passed in 2014, but has never taken effect.
The Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas three years ago. But the court’s lineup has changed since then. Two appointees of President Donald Trump have joined the bench and Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired. Kennedy voted to strike down the Texas law.
A vote to allow the law to take effect “will be a really good sign that the modified Court will not police states or lower courts’ compliance with” the Texas decision or an earlier ruling in 1992 that reaffirmed a woman’s right to an abortion that the court first announced in the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, University of California, Irvine law professor Leah Litman wrote on the progressive Take Care blog.
It’s worth showing some restraint, no matter which way the decision goes. There could easily be logistical or legal roadblocks that would cause Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, et al to strike down to Louisiana law without saying anything more meaningful about the state of abortion in the country generally. The reverse could also be true; just because the court allows the Louisiana law to go forward would not necessarily indicate any particular willingness to wade deeper into the abortion issue. After all, every conservative on the court has cited the importance of Stare Decisis when it comes to Roe V. Wade. Then again, you’ve got to get past liberal politicians in Congress one way or the other.
So we’ll watch and wait, but we will also reserve judgement, no matter which way this particular case swings. God knows, with states like New York and Virginia going further than ever in terms of solidifying and expanding abortion rights, we could really use some champions for life on the Supreme Court. Time will tell if we have already found them.