Have We Forgotten About The Louisiana Abortion Case? | Chief Justice’s Image As An Institutionalist Is On The Line
June 22, 2020
Today the Supreme Court handed down an 8-1 ruling authored by JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR that places limits on the SEC’s practice of forcing defendants to surrender profits obtained through fraud as part of its enforcement of investor-protection laws in federal courts. SCOTUS stopped short of disallowing the practice entirely and instead said that what can be sought via disgorgement cannot exceed the net profits of the conduct at issue. JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS was the sole dissenter.
SCOTUS today also turned away a challenge to PRESIDENT TRUMP’S tariffs on imported steel. An industry group had argued that a key part of the law under which the duties were imposed violates the Constitution. American steel importers asked in April for the Supreme Court to review a ruling from the U.S. Court of International Trade that upheld the constitutionality of Trump’s use of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE|
John Kruzel with The Hill reports that all eyes are on CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS ahead of the court’s highly anticipated ruling on abortion access. It will be the first major ruling from SCOTUS on abortion rights in the Trump era and Kruzel notes that how Roberts ultimately weighs in could test his allegiance to past rulings. “Roberts’s image as an ‘institutionalist’ justice dedicated to honoring prior Supreme Court opinions, especially recent ones, is now on the line. One ruling in particular — the court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt — looms large over the Louisiana case. It also raises the stakes for the reputations of both Roberts and the court.”
What if the Supreme Court rules on abortion and the country shrugs? That’s the headline of a piece from Lauren Kelley in The New York Times regarding the big abortion case out of Louisiana. She opines, “The sweeping changes this case could usher in make it all the more depressing that the looming ruling has gotten relatively little attention amid the tumult of this year. Depressing, but understandable — I cover this issue for a living and even I’ve struggled to focus on the case, given everything else happening in the world. But there’s another reason people might not have their hair aflame about this case, even if they generally care about reproductive freedom: We’re worn down. By the pandemic, by racist police violence, by so much else that’s roiled 2020 — but also by years and years of abortion battles just like this one.”
THERE'S ALWAYS HOPE|
Actor and immigrants rights advocate, BAMBADJAN BAMBA writes in CNN that the Supreme Court gave him hope last week when justices blocked the Trump administration’s effort to end DACA. “As a Black DACA recipient, my fight isn’t over until we get a long-term legislative solution that would allow us to get permanent legal status and a reform of the criminal justice system,” Bamba notes. “Even though we’re taking a moment to celebrate, we know that unless people come out to vote in November, we will find ourselves in the same predicament next year, because this administration now has the blueprint to lawfully terminate DACA.”
TODAY IN HISTORY|
On this day in 1992, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “hate crime” laws that banned cross burning and similar expressions of racial bias violated free-speech rights.
SCOTUS VIEWSThe New York Times
“We may officially have three branches of government, but Americans seem to accept that it’s more like 2.25: A presidency that acts unilaterally whenever possible, a high court that checks the White House and settles culture wars, and a Congress that occasionally bestirs itself to pass a budget. What sort of Republic this is, and whether we will keep it, is for a higher court than Neil Gorsuch’s to decide.”Bloomberg Opinion
“Abraham Lincoln, who knew well the harm that errant judges can do, might have overstated matters when he said: ‘Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.’ What’s ailing social conservatism isn’t that it is backing textualism inside the Supreme Court. It’s that it’s losing the higher court outside it.”The Hill
“The Supreme Court’s decision last week on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is seen as a huge political loss for President Trump. It is anything but. The high court’s decision allows immigrants who have received DACA status, sometimes referred to as ‘Dreamers,’ to stay in the country safely without threat of deportation. But that protection remains temporary. The Supreme Court provided a Band-Aid that can be abruptly ripped off at any minute, exposing the fear, anxiety and danger these residents have had to live with for so long.”The New York Times
“In an era when Americans are deeply polarized and angry at one another, convinced that those on the other side politically are wicked and unreasonable, there is a better way forward on the fraught issue of gay rights and religious liberty — a path that could build on the protections the Supreme Court has provided L.G.B.T. Americans, while affording important new safeguards to those who believe the court’s decision will pressure religious institutions to abandon their views on sexual ethics. It holds out the prospect of a positive-sum resolution for both sides, with each side getting something it considers essential and neither side getting everything it wants.”
OTHER NEWSBloomberg Law
“The U.S. Supreme Court won’t tackle when states can criminalize threatening speech. The justices on Monday refused to review a pair of convictions thrown out by the Kansas Supreme Court, which said a state law making a threat a felony was unconstitutional because it could penalize speech that, while undesirable, is protected under the Constitution.”The New York Times
“The declaration by the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan on Friday night that he would stay in his job despite Attorney General William P. Barr’s attempt to fire him raised not just the mystery of what was behind Mr. Barr’s move, but also a legal question: Who has the authority to remove him? No definitive and settled Supreme Court precedent exists to look to for guidance, and federal statutes appear to conflict on the question. That set up the possibility of a protracted fight in court until Mr. Barr told the U.S. attorney, Geoffrey S. Berman, on Saturday that the president had fired him, and he acquiesced.”