Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices to strike down a Louisiana law that would have severely restricted access to abortion.
The Washington Post reports:
The Supreme Court on Monday provided a victory for abortion rights activists, striking down a restrictive Louisiana law that would have left the state with only one abortion clinic.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 4 decision. It was a blow to conservatives who had hoped for a dramatic change in the court’s abortion jurisprudence in the first case heard by a court reinforced by President Trump’s two conservative appointees.
Instead, Roberts said the Louisiana law could not stand given the court’s 2016 decision to to overturn a similar Texas law in 2016. “The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,” Roberts wrote in concurring with the decision. “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.”
Roberts ‘s vote was all the more striking because he dissented in the Texas case. He said he continues “believe that the [Texas] case was wrongly decided.” But he said the question was whether to “adhere to it in the present case.”
It was perhaps the most dramatic example of Roberts’s new role as the pivotal member of the court, and indicated that while he supports restrictions on abortion, he is unready at this point to overhaul the court’s jurisprudence supporting the right of a woman to choose the procedure.
A side note: in states where protestors have refused to wear face masks, some have chanted, “My body, my choice!”
Ironic. Do the anti-maskers support abortion rights?