Old Johnny Rebel strikes again.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday delivered the Left yet another victory by siding with the court’s more liberal justices in shooting down a Louisiana law that restricted abortion by requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The decision was 5-4, with Roberts (appointed by Republican George W. Bush) being the swing vote that said Louisiana’s law was unconstitutional.
The majority opinion for the June Medical Services LLC v. Russo case, authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, noted that the Louisiana law in question is “almost word-for-word identical” to a a Texas law that was held as unconstitutional in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court case.
In the latest case, a District Court had rejected the Louisiana law because of the precedent, while a court of appeals determined otherwise.
“We have examined the extensive record carefully and conclude that it supports the District Court’s findings of fact,” Breyer wrote. “Those findings mirror those made in Whole Woman’s Health in every relevant respect and require the same result. We consequently hold that the Louisiana statute is unconstitutional.”
The liberal justice, a Bill Clinton appointee, went on to argue that the law “offers no significant health benefit” and that “conditions on admitting privileges common to hospitals throughout the State have made and will continue to make it impossible for abortion providers to obtain conforming privileges for reasons that have nothing to do with the State’s asserted interests in promoting women’s health and safety.”
Roberts did not join the majority opinion, but rather authored a concurring opinion. While he dissented in the 2016 case, he sided with the majority in the Louisiana case on the grounds of precedent.
“The legal doctrine of stare decisis [“let the decision stand”] requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,” Roberts wrote. “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’ reasoning is flawed on two fundamental counts. First, he places so much weight on precedent while ignoring that there is a precedent for ignoring precedence. The Supreme Court has reversed its own decisions more than 200 times.
Second, Roberts, like many judges, makes precedent, not the Constitution, supreme. While precedent is an important component of America’s judicial tradition, it should not be used to shield what is clearly unconstitutional or nullify what is clearly constitutional.
If the Supreme Court itself acted contrary to the Constitution yesterday, it is the duty of justices today to throw out that unconstitutional precedent.
Abortion is a matter that is within the purview of the states. If Louisiana wants to restrict the practice, it has the constitutional right to do so under the 10th Amendment.
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”
The decision was one of a series of recent Supreme Court cases in which Roberts’ siding with the court’s liberal justices resulted in the defeat of conservative causes.
Earlier this month, Roberts, along with Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, sided with liberals to rule that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protected homosexual and transfender workers form “discrimination” in the workplace.
In the dissenting opinion for that case, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation. The document that the Court releases is in the form of a judicial opinion interpreting a statute, but that is deceptive.”
Days later, Roberts again sided with liberals to rule against President Trump’s bid to end Barack Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program, which offers legal protections to illegal aliens who came to the country as minors.
In that case, the majority argued that the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which sets out rulemaking procedures for federal agencies.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. ‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern,’” Roberts said in his opinion. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
Roberts may be right that it isn’t his job to decide whether actions of the federal government are “sound policies.” But it is his job to determine whether policies are constitutional or not. It’s a job the chief justice hasn’t done very well.
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.