Justices Open Door To State Funding For Religious Schools | What To Make Of Roberts’ Vote In This Week’s Abortion Decision
June 30, 2020
CHURCH AND STATE|
Today the Supreme Court ruled that states must allow religious schools to participate in programs that provide scholarships to students attending private schools. It was a split decision from the court, with CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS writing the majority opinion which states, “A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.” All four liberal justices dissented. JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR wrote that the ruling is “perverse” and JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER wrote, “If, for 250 years, we have drawn a line at forcing taxpayers to pay the salaries of those who teach their faith from the pulpit, I do not see how we can today require Montana to adopt a different view respecting those who teach it in the classroom.”
MARK OF APPROVAL|
The Supreme Court also handed down a decision today that gives Booking.com the green light to trademark the generic term associated with its domain name. The high court ruled 8-1 with JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG writing in the majority opinion, “We have no cause to deny Booking.com the same benefits Congress accorded other marks qualifying as nongeneric.” Jamie Ehrlich with CNN reports.
A SUPREME COURT FIRST|
“His decision Monday to invalidate a Louisiana regulation on physicians who perform abortions affirms a 2016 ruling — that he protested at the time — and continues to preserve a woman’s decades-old constitutional right to end a pregnancy. Although he did not join the four liberals’ legal reasoning, likely stirring more anti-abortion litigation in the states, Roberts’ move marked the first time he had ever voted to strike down an abortion regulation.” That’s Joan Biskupic with CNN reviewing CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS’ decision to vote in favor of striking down Louisiana’s abortion access law and how that fits into his legacy as a conservative chief justice who hews closely to procedure and precedent.
ALL HAIL THE CHIEF|
“In a series of stunning decisions over the past two weeks, CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. has voted to expand LGBTQ rights, protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers and strike down a Louisiana abortion law. In all three decisions, he voted with the court’s four-member liberal wing. Those decisions heartened progressives and infuriated the chief justice’s usual conservative allies. But those reactions obscured a larger truth about Chief Justice Roberts: 15 years into his tenure, he now wields a level of influence that has caused experts to hunt for historical comparisons.” Adam Liptak with The New York Times writes that Roberts might be the most powerful chief justice in nearly a century, and, being only 65, he has plenty of time to grow and further assert that power.
ROBERTS V. ROBERTS|
Robert Barnes with The Washington Post also takes a look at the role of CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS on the Supreme Court, and specifically why he went from dissenting in the 2016 Texas abortion case to joining his liberal colleagues in striking down the Louisiana abortion law that’s nearly identical to the one in Texas. Roberts writes, “The votes do not mean that Roberts, nominated by PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, has had an ideological conversion. But they do serve as a reminder of his 2018 rejoinder to PRESIDENT TRUMP that ‘we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.’ Roberts’s admirers speculate he was turned off by the attempt to have the court’s 2016 decision overturned because the court’s membership had changed with Trump’s two appointments.”
MAKE NO MISTAKE|
“The Supreme Court just delivered the narrowest, most temporary victory for abortion rights. Though CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, a conservative who votes fairly consistently to uphold abortion restrictions, cast the key fifth vote to strike down a Louisiana anti-abortion law, his opinion makes it clear that his views about abortion haven’t changed. The best reading of the court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is that Roberts just gave the constitutional right to an abortion a potentially very brief reprieve. And he did so largely because Louisiana presented the weakest possible case in June Medical.” Ian Millhiser with Vox suggests that Roberts didn’t save abortion rights, he just told future litigants how to bury them.
AIN'T NO HERO|
The Editorial Board of The New York Times argues the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion access this week actually sets the stage for more attacks on abortion rights. “It’s concerning that this case made it to the high court at all, given its similarity to the Texas case. It’s even more concerning that the rights of millions of women hinged in part on someone having a bad day in court. But such is the state of reproductive rights in 2020: Members of the pro-choice side count their blessings over the narrowest of victories, while anti-choice crusaders continue to think big, strategic and long-term.”
ON THE OTHER HAND|
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board chastises CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS for joining his liberal colleagues in the abortion decision and progressives’ “crocodile tears” over the end of Roe v. Wade. “The implications for abortion law seem clear enough. No challenge to the court’s abortion precedents will succeed with the nine current justices. Democrats and the left will continue to blow smoke about the imminent demise of Roe v. Wade, as JOE BIDEN did Monday. But even incremental regulation that tinkers around the edges of abortion law may fail.”
SCOTUS VIEWSThe Washington Post
“If all of this feels familiar, it should. Similar dynamics were at play 28 years ago when the court decided Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Then, as now, the question of precedent loomed large as abortion rights groups braced for the court, with its new complement of Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees, to scuttle Roe. Instead, the court, in an apparent nod to precedent, affirmed Roe’s ‘essential holding’ that there was a constitutional right to choose an abortion.”The Washington Post
“On its face, that sounds like a major blow. The court’s holding that the agency was established in an unconstitutional manner might seem to jeopardize everything it does and all that it has ever done. Certainly, when the financial companies first began raising these claims, they did so with a desire to put the CFPB out of business once and for all. But that is not the upshot of the decision. If anything, this ruling is a sheep that comes in wolf’s clothing. Although the court did invalidate the independent tenure of the CFPB’s single director, seven of the nine justices stopped right there and refused to go further. By carefully slicing off the tenure protections for the director, they left all other aspects of the agency in place.”
OTHER NEWSBloomberg Law
“The Supreme Court won’t review an environmental case that could have had big implications for both the U.S.-Mexico border wall and a major legal doctrine affecting federal agencies. The justices on Monday denied a petition for review from the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups who say the federal government’s practice of waiving environmental statutes and other laws for border wall construction is unconstitutional. The case could have given the justices a new opportunity to address the nondelegation doctrine, a long dormant principle barring Congress from giving agencies lawmaking authority.”CNN
“Democrats hoping to flip the Senate seized on a major Supreme Court ruling on Monday striking down a Louisiana law that would’ve restricted abortion access, attacking Republican candidates in crucial races across the country for supporting conservative justices who dissented in the case. Nowhere was that more evident than in Maine, where state House Speaker Sara Gideon sharply criticized Sen. Susan Collins for voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, even though Collins supported the court’s decision.”