PBS, Oct 21, 2020
by Courtney Vinopal
Over her three-day confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett repeatedly declined to discuss her stance on abortion. But while there is no way to know for certain how she will rule on such cases, legal scholars say that her record, as well as a careful reading of certain answers she gave the Senate Judiciary Committee, gives clues about where the Supreme Court could be headed on issues of reproductive rights.
Barrett assured members of the committee that she would bring “no agenda” to her role if confirmed to the high court. She has also expressed anti-abortion beliefs in the past, and joined two dissents on abortion restriction cases during her time on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
‘I can’t pre-commit,’ Barrett said on the second day of confirmation hearings
Abortion access took center stage within the first hour of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday. That was no surprise; along with the Affordable Care Act and LGBTQ protections, it’s been one of the most contentious issues since President Trump nominated her. Trump has pledged to appoint justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
The Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), who was second in the questioning lineup, started with a long introduction to the topic, describing watching other young women in the 1950s try to obtain illegal abortions. The issue is “of a great importance, because it goes to a woman’s fundamental right to make the most personal decisions about their own body,” Feinstein said.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett faces first day of questioning from senators
By Seung Min Kim and Ann E. Marimow
Oct. 13, 2020
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday disputed assertions by Democrats that she would be a reliable vote to restrict health-care access and abortion rights, pledging during the second day of her confirmation hearing that she has no policy agenda while deflecting specifics about how she would rule.
Barrett came into her nomination with a lengthy public record that underscores a personal opposition to abortion and skepticism about legal reasonings that upheld the Affordable Care Act. She testified Tuesday that she believes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion, is not among the “super precedents” of the Supreme Court that are considered so fundamental they cannot be overturned.
Aug 31, 2020, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court's decision in June striking down a Louisiana restriction on abortion clinics is giving abortion opponents an unlikely opportunity in other states.
Officials in Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma have in recent weeks argued that the high court's 5-4 ruling actually bolsters their defense of anti-abortion laws, even though the justices ruled against Louisiana.
A federal appeals court will allow Arkansas to create degrading new hurdles for people seeking abortions.
By Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern
Aug 07, 2020
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in June Medical v. Russo was hailed by many liberal court watchers as a win for reproductive rights, as the court declined to overturn Roe v. Wade and formally eliminate the right to an abortion. On Friday, however, a federal appeals court ruled that June Medical significantly narrowed the constitutional right to abortion access. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel swept away an injunction that had blocked Arkansas from enforcing a slew of abortion restrictions, including a requirement that patients pregnant as a result of rape notify their rapists before terminating their pregnancy. The appellate court’s decision confirms that Chief Justice John Roberts’ controlling opinion in June Medical will serve as a tool to eviscerate abortion rights. Those who briefly heralded him as a champion of reproductive freedom were too caught up in the halftime show to see the game.
A concurring opinion leaves the standard for determining the constitutionality of abortion restrictions in doubt.
Aug 4, 2020
At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in June Medical Services v. Russo. At issue was a Louisiana law, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. Like hundreds of similar state laws across the country, this law would have made abortion services difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in Louisiana.
A majority of the Court struck down the Louisiana law, but five justices did not agree on why the law was unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred only in judgment—and his concurrence may be the key to understanding what regulations the Court will or will not permit in the future.
Attacks on reproductive freedom have the greatest effect on communities that already face significant barriers to accessing health care.
Jul 20, 2020
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the implementation of a law that would have left just one clinic and one doctor authorized to perform abortions in Louisiana, a state of more than 4.5 million people and 50,000 square miles.
Even though four justices ignored the Court’s own precedent, the ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo gave reproductive health, rights, and justice supporters across the country the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. But as we began leafing through the pages of the opinions, cracks started to appear, reminding us that our freedom remains up for grabs and our fight is nowhere near over.
The fate of Roe v. Wade is more uncertain than ever
Published: July 17, 2020
By Mary Ziegler
When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling striking down a Louisiana law that would have limited abortion access in that state, progressives celebrated. Their reasoning on June 29 was simple: By joining the court’s liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts had proven his commitment to the principle of precedent.
But the court had also sent several cases — all big wins for abortion rights — back to lower courts for reconsideration.
July 15, 2020
By David S. Cohen
June Medical v. Russo was a victory for Louisiana’s three independent abortion clinics and the thousands of people in the state they can now continue to serve. But, going forward, Chief Justice Roberts’ concurring opinion could pave the way for federal courts to bless a host of abortion restrictions that would make access to care more difficult.
To understand what might happen based on the Chief’s opinion, it’s instructive to look at Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that case, the Court announced the undue burden test, a test that in theory could have had bite. Per the decision, “An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”
Conservatives could build on abortion restrictions that point to “scientific uncertainty.”
By Mary Ziegler
July 1, 2020
The Supreme Court’s recent abortion ruling shows that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. means it when he says that “the legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike.” Casting the deciding vote Monday in June Medical Services v. Russo, he ruled against an abortion restriction that Louisiana claimed protected women against unscrupulous doctors. The state even asked the court to prevent abortion providers from suing on behalf of their patients, claiming a conflict of interest. If these arguments were new, the chief justice almost certainly would have accepted them both. The problem was that the Supreme Court had heard them before: In 2016, the justices invalidated an identical Texas law. Roberts couldn’t distinguish the two statutes enough to make a different ruling — not while respecting precedent.