Monday, July 6, 2020

US Supreme Court Blocks Anti-Abortion Law

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US President Donald Trump suffered another setback at the Supreme Court on Monday June 29. The highest legal body in the United States has in fact invalidated a law passed in 2014 by Louisiana, which could have considerably restricted access to abortion in this state. The law established that practitioners should obtain admission rights to a local hospital for their patients in the event of complications.

Presented by opponents of abortion as a measure to protect their lives, this imperative would have resulted in the closure of two of the three clinics in which interruptions of pregnancy volunteers are still practiced in a state which has more than 4.6 million inhabitants.

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The decisive voice was provided by the President of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, appointed by a Republican President, who joined the four progressive judges appointed by Democrats.

This decision was eagerly awaited. It was indeed the first on this dossier which has deeply divided the United States since the appointment of two Conservative judges by Donald Trump: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The latter replaced in 2018 Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, but who joined the progressives on social issues. Anthony Kennedy had thus decisively tilted the Court in 2016 by blocking a law passed in Texas on which Louisiana was inspired.

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This time around, John Roberts played the pivotal role when he was in the minority who had refused to block Texas law four years earlier. "We have examined the files closely" and the two cases “Are comparable in all respects and impose the same result. Consequently, we find that the law of Louisiana is unconstitutional ”, said the majority bloc. The President of the Court shared this reading while assuring that he had not changed his opinion, on the merits, compared to 2016.

Far from over

After the ruling extending homosexual and transgender protections against discrimination in hiring under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the stalling of Louisiana law will fuel the Conservatives' disappointment. Some of them voted Donald Trump in 2016 hoping to get a referral from the Supreme Court more favorable to their values. The appointments of two judges have so far had no effect on these issues which are part of the American "cultural war".

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