Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Chief Justice Roberts Could Determine Fate Of Abortion Law

“During yesterday’s oral argument in the CFPB case, Chief Justice Roberts suggested that the Court’s ‘recent precedent should have a binding effect on how the Court addresses [that] case.’ If the Chief Justice follows his own counsel, he will vote to strike down Louisiana’s law.” — CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans

WASHINGTON – Following oral argument at the Supreme Court this morning in June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, Constitutional Accountability Center Civil Rights Director David Gans, present for today’s proceedings, issued the following reaction:

Four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas admitting privileges requirement, finding that it was an arbitrary requirement that made it harder for individuals to obtain access to abortion and advanced no health interest. If the Court follows its own precedent it will strike down Louisiana’s law as a sham designed to hinder abortion access.

During this morning’s argument, no one offered any reason why the Court should depart from Whole Woman’s Health and uphold Louisiana’s identical law. Indeed, if anything, the answers to the Justices’ many questions about the record illustrated that Louisiana’s law imposes severe burdens—as Texas’s did—because of the difficulty of obtaining admitting privileges and providing no benefits of any kind. The law is an arbitrary infringement on fundamental rights that the Constitution does not countenance.

During yesterday’s oral argument in the CFPB case, Chief Justice Roberts suggested that the Court’s “recent precedent should have a binding effect on how the Court addresses [that] case.” If the Chief Justice follows his own counsel, he will vote to strike down Louisiana’s law.

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Resources:

CAC case page in June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/june-medical-services-l-l-c-v-gee/

“Justices to hear first major abortion case of Trump era,” The Hill (quoting David Gans), February 29. 2020: https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/485246-justices-to-hear-first-major-abortion-case-of-trump-era

“Chief Justice John Roberts’ Next Move Will Tell Us A Lot,” Brianne Gorod and Rebecca Damante, Take Care blog, February 13, 2020: https://takecareblog.com/blog/chief-justice-john-roberts-next-move-will-tell-us-a-lot

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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