Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Texas Abortion Law

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Justice Scalia: Hero or Scourge?
Judge Richard Posner, the leading judicial-scholar of our generation (think Oliver Wendell Holmes and Learned Hand), recently said in an interview:

"Well, I don't like the Supreme Court. I don't think it's a real court. I think of it as basically . . . it's like a House of Lords. It's a quasi-political body. President, Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court. It's very political. And they decide which cases to hear, which doesn't strike me as something judges should do. You should take what comes. When you decide which case to hear it means you've decided the cases ahead of time."

This week the justices proved him right. In a 5-4 decision, split along the usual ideological lines, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rejected Planned Parenthood's attempt to overturn the Fifth Circuit's decision overturning the district court's decision to stop the Texas abortion law from taking effect (an injunction, in the jargon). Got that?

In other words, the district court in Austin found the Texas abortion law (likely) unconstitutional and stopped it from taking effect. The Fifth Circuit said, "not so fast," and reinstated the law, setting oral arguments on the merits -- i.e., whether it is substantively constitutional -- for January 2014, but Planned Parenthood asked that the Supreme Court restore the district court's injunction while they fight it out in the courts.

The Court refused to do that: on procedural grounds. Justice Scalia wrote that granting Planned Parenthood's request "would flout core principles of federalism by mandating postponement of a state law without asserting that the law is even probably unconstitutional." But this is no more than cloaking a pro-life decision in legal jargon so that it sounds authoritative.

In the end, however, this is simply a band-aid ruling. Once the Fifth Circuit (likely) upholds the Texas law, SCOTUS will then hear the case on the merits, as I noted previously.

But this will not happen until next term (starting in October 2014). Only four justices need to vote to decide to hear a case on the merits, a step the four dissenters will almost certainly take. In the meantime, one-third of abortion clinics in Texas will be shuttered. Whether you think this is a net good or negative, it's a reminder that elections have consequences.

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11 comments
muhayeboy
muhayeboy

Judge Posner is all that is wrong with Liberal Judges.   We do not think he is much of a judge.  A real judge is Scalia.

DontCry
DontCry

" In the meantime, one-third of abortion clinics in Texas will be shuttered." Awesome, glad to hear it. Hopefully it will be permanently. 


FYI, all pharmacies sell birth control pills. There is no need to kill your babies, mothers.

matx
matx

Not so sure that *all* pharmacies sell birth control pills, and if you haven't got a prescription, you're out of luck.   I'll wager a lot of women will be out of luck renewing their prescriptions with the closure of clinics--and of course you have to see a physician in Texas to get a prescription refilled.

morning_sunshine
morning_sunshine

@DontCry All pharmacies sell condoms, too - no need to impregnate women.  

Put a cap on that soldier!

DontCry
DontCry

@matx  Weird, I just passed by a Planned Parenthood and it was open. I guess all of this whining about shuttered clinics is all a lie.

DontCry
DontCry

@DontCry  Hey, whatever excuse eases your conscience. Never mind the beating heart...

DontCry
DontCry

@pennylove  No one ever said it was at conception, now back to the phones, there are some loney men that want to talk to you, "pennylove".

DontCry
DontCry

@pennylove  Yes I certainly do know. I also know some people have to make endless excuses.

No calls on the 976 number today? How are you going to afford supper? tsk tsk tsk
You poor thing, "pennylove". Might want to find another job.

pennylove
pennylove

@DontCry  You're poorly informed. Do you know when a heart is even formed let along start to beat. Hint: not at conception.

(Janitorial supplies, huh, guess I'm not surprised)

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