Lower Courts Confused Over Roberts’ Abortion Opinion | Democrats Suffer From Déja Vu With Breyer
April 14, 2021
DO WE HAVE TO|
“Almost a year after CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS sided with the Supreme Court’s liberals to cast the determinative vote to block a Louisiana abortion law, his opinion in the case is causing deep divisions among lower court judges and lawyers. Last June, Roberts, who had never voted against an abortion restriction, spelled out his thinking in a concurring opinion, perhaps to bring clarity to lower courts dealing with the explosive issue. Instead, that opinion has added to the tangle of cases and rulings throughout the country, some of which are now making their way up to the high court.” That’s Ariane de Vogue with CNN reporting that as Republican-led states move “an unprecedented clip” to pass abortion restrictions, lower courts are wondering what Roberts said and if they have to follow him at all.
SO WHAT'S IT GONNA BE|
David Savage with the Los Angeles Times says the Supreme Court will soon decide whether conservative Christians have a constitutional right to refuse to work with same-sex couples in a city-funded foster care program. The ultra-conservative court has bolstered the 1st Amendment’s right to the free exercise of religion ever since AMY CONEY BARRETT joined the bench. However, Savage notes that other than JUSTICES THOMAS and ALITO, the high court has “shown no sign it will retreat from the principle of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.” And last year JUSTICES GORSUCH and CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS joined their liberal colleagues to protect LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination.
BABY, I SWEAR IT'S DEJA VU|
Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine, and Laura Barron-Lopez with POLITICO write that Democrats are in a bind with what to do about JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER. “Democrats are grappling with judicial déja vu: an aging liberal Supreme Court justice, a paper-thin Senate majority and activist pressure to swing the bench leftward’.” Although some groups are pushing the justice to retire, Democratic lawmakers are keeping their distance to avoid a possible backfire effect and repeat the past. Democrats barely nudged former JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG to retire the last time they controlled the Senate and the White House, and she stayed on only for the court to veer even further to the right.
At 82, JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER is the oldest member of the Supreme Court. If he were to step down this year, it would offer Democrats a chance to fill a vacancy on the highest court in the land for the first time in more than a decade. Breyer has said nothing to suggest he plans to retire, but just in case, or if you’re just a really big Breyer-head, take a look at CNN’s compilation of photos of the justice through the years. You’ll see him yucking it up with folks like Stephen Colbert and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, jogging with former President Bill Clinton, and embracing his wife Joanna.
“The consensus among legal experts seems to be that states have the right to mandate vaccine passports. The main basis is a 1905 Supreme Court case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which held that the Constitution wasn’t violated when the city of Cambridge required all adults to get the smallpox vaccine. Following the same logic, courts have upheld state laws mandating vaccines for schoolchildren. But we should not assume that this deference to state power would continue under the current Supreme Court.”The Washington Post
“What McConnell, Trump and Demand Justice have in common is an interest in agitating their respective political bases, the better to raise money from them, perhaps. Breyer’s mistake, if any, was to assume he might be addressing a political class still amenable to good-faith persuasion, and not in the grip of mutually reinforcing negative partisanship.”
“A US appellate court decision on Tuesday upholding an Ohio law that prohibits abortions because of fetal Down syndrome evades major Supreme Court precedent and is certain to reverberate in cases nationwide. The decision by a 9-7 vote implicitly challenges Supreme Court decisions dating to 1973 that protect the abortion choice in the early weeks of a pregnancy and could open up a new front in the enduring battle over a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy. Unlike recent litigation centered on physician and clinic regulations or other dimensions of women’s access to abortion, Tuesday’s case involved a woman’s reason for seeking the procedure and what she might tell her physician.”