This week the United States Supreme Court handed down a significant ruling on abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s more liberal judges, ruling against a Louisiana law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
“I think John Roberts is such a careful steward of the court to not swing quickly from left to right. I think he’s done such a deft job of trying to de-politicize the court.” — Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
Listen: The Supreme Court quashes a Louisiana law restricting abortion access.
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast “Amicus.”
She says that the June Medical Centers v. Russo case was part of a long-term campaign to enact cumbersome state regulations with the intent of eliminating abortion clinics without outright criminalizing the procedure. This case was essentially identical to a Texas law brought before the court only four years ago, establishing a precedent that Lithwick says strongly impacted the court’s ruling.
“The opinion we got yesterday is this really weird 4-4-1 decision. Roberts says overtly, ‘Look, I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health,’ but he says, ‘Don’t go overruling Supreme Court decision from four years ago,” says Lithwick.
She says the decision by Chief Justice Roberts doesn’t indicate that he has flipped his lifelong position against abortion access, but rather Roberts is signaling that he is open to overturning Roe v. Wade down the line in a more measured and principled way.
“I think John Roberts is such a careful steward of the court to not swing quickly from left to right. I think he’s done such a deft job of trying to de-politicize the court,” says Lithwick.