Supreme Court Takes First Abortion Rights Case With Kavanaugh on the Bench


The US Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors - and could ultimately obstruct access to the procedure, according to critics.

She notes that the justices have also agreed to take Louisiana's related appeal, asking whether abortion providers even have the right to sue on behalf of patients, which may be significant. Backers of the law say it is a reasonable regulation, with claims by state officials that "Louisiana abortion clinics have a history of serious health and safety problems".

The case is one of several cultural touchstones the Supreme Court will take up this year - including cases on employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, gun rights, and Trump's elimination of protections undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children. The case concerns Louisiana's Act 620, which requires abortion centers to make arrangements for admitting women to hospitals within 30 miles in cases of life-threatening complications.

The court begins its new nine-month term on Monday.

A "right to bear arms" case due in December could be declared obsolete after NY city regulations were amended. A federal appeals court had upheld the law, despite an nearly identical statute from Texas that was declared unconstitutional by the justices in 2016.

The Supreme Court's deliberations will come right in the middle of the 2020 presidential campaign - and its eventual ruling will be the first meaty decision on the hot-button issue since Trump appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, shifting the court's balance to the right. One of those men was Anthony Kennedy, long seen as the last bulwark against pro-life jurisprudence and the man who Brett Kavanaugh replaced.

The court has also been asked to hear a separate dispute over a state abortion law in IN, but it has not agreed to hear that case. He noted that Louisiana had already stated that if the justices had allowed the law to go into effect, the state would have commenced a 45-day "transition" period to review how it would impact the clinics.

Texas had argued that its law was meant to protect women's health.

Mia Raven, policy director at Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, said if Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt precedent is overturned, most of the clinics in Alabama and in the South that provide abortion would be in danger of closing.

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Lawyers for the Louisiana clinics filed an emergency appeal at the Supreme Court.

The court issued an injunction in February blocking the law from taking effect, but without ruling on what it actually stipulates.

The employers, along with the Trump administration, say lawmakers weren't thinking about sexual orientation and gender identity when they passed Title VII as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

"The point is when you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms", Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said September 24 at an appearance at Temple Emanu-El in NY.

In the Texas case, he voted in dissent to uphold the admitting privileges requirement. The regulations are distinct from other state laws making their way through court challenges that would ban abortions early in a pregnancy.

"An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its goal or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability", the court wrote in the 1992 ruling. A court ruling that chips away at abortion rights, with more opportunities for the court to take up abortion in the near future, would galvanize that base.

Highlighting sensitivity over the court's work, Republicans reacted in fury, saying the Democrats were a clear threat to judicial independence. What the stipulation achieves is limiting the number of doctors who can perform abortions.

Justice Kavanaugh, Millhiser and North write, "is overwhelmingly likely to vote with his conservative colleagues to uphold the abortion restriction at issue in Gee".