( ENSPIRE News ) On June 29th, a Louisiana State Law That Would’ve Effectively Lessened the State to Just One Abortion Clinic Was Shut Down
ENSPIRE Contributor: Tyler Burns
Recently, in a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice. Roberts sided with the 4 liberal judges, to strike down a Louisiana state law that dealt with admission privileges. In 2016, a similar law that was almost “word-for-word” was knocked down in a 5-4 decision, under a more liberal court. Roberts flipped his vote from 2016 and wrote about the precedence of the last case. This is another major victory for Pro-choicer’s within the Supreme Court, especially since the Chief Justice voted against it only four years ago.
The Chief Justice made it clear his vote with the liberals was based on the court’s prior precedent in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which was decided in 2016. In that case, the Supreme Court struck down an eerily similar law in Texas by a 5-3 vote. But in his opinion, Roberts said that the legal doctrine known as stare decisis, the principle of adhering to precedent, “requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat cases alike.”
“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons,” Roberts stated in his opinion. “Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.” This stance by the Chief Justice reflects a dedication to precedent and to uphold the rule of the law regardless of beliefs because he voted the other way the first time.
This ruling had widespread implications if ruled the other way because it would’ve effectively shut down all abortion clinics in Louisiana aside the one in New Orleans. This ruling was based on precedent from 2016, so it’s not political, it’s the majority of the court doing what it is supposed to do and remain apolitical. The issue of politicization of the courts is a very real issue that is ongoing throughout the country, especially under this administration, but this was a decision made off of a sound legal groundwork and precedent.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenged the Louisiana abortion law at the top court, said in a statement that “we’re relieved that the Louisiana law has been blocked today but we’re concerned about tomorrow.”