Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Louisiana’s law regarding doctors at abortion clinics. The law in question required doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Because women can die from legal abortions, hospital admitting privileges are important. The Supreme Court struck down this requirement, putting the lives of women at risk. Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote on the issue, disappointing many Americans who expected him to be a conservative voice on the Court.
The article reports:
The conservative legal establishment has long been particularly enamored of this ideal: the umpire calmly calling balls and strikes. It is a very important virtue. But it is not the first virtue. An umpire who can be cowed by the crowd will not call the same strike zone for both teams. Without courage, good ideas about the law are just empty words on a page. Without courage, even the clearest-written rights are empty promises, the plainest limitations on power are easily overwhelmed, and the entire project of rule by written law becomes just another hollow formality.
Two of today’s Supreme Court decisions, on abortion and separation of powers, are further evidence of this. Chief Justice John Roberts has yet again shown the absence of courage that has so often undermined his Court. Roberts’s repeated demonstrations of lack of courage are rapidly becoming a threat to the Court itself, and to the conservative legal project.
First up, we have June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, which by a 5–4 vote struck down a Louisiana abortion-clinic regulation challenged by the clinics. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch would have upheld the Louisiana law, but Chief Justice Roberts sided with the Court’s four liberals, claiming that his hands were tied by precedent.
In the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court ruled 5–3 against a Texas abortion law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. States routinely impose such requirements on the practice of medicine, especially invasive or surgical procedures. As Justice Gorsuch observed, the Louisiana law “tracks longstanding state laws governing physicians who perform relatively low-risk procedures like colonoscopies, Lasik eye surgeries, and steroid injections at ambulatory surgical centers.” The Court in both Whole Woman’s Health and June Medical ruled that “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right” to an abortion. Yet what the Court defines as an “unnecessary” requirement would be uncontroversially legal for any other medical procedure under the sun, and the “constitutional right” itself is, of course, nowhere even vaguely mentioned in the actual Constitution.
Chief Justice Roberts has been a disappointment almost from the beginning. His ruling on Obamacare was questionable at best. Please follow the link to the article to read further details regarding the contradictions between the decision on the Louisiana law and the previous opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts