Does The June Medical Services Decision Prove John Roberts Is Compromised?

News breaking today on an important Louisiana case involving how closely a state can regulate the practice of abortion casts a great deal of suspicion on U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The case of Russo v. June Medical Services is one we’ve discussed often here at The Hayride. Essentially, the case involves a Louisiana law which required abortionists in the state to have visiting privileges at local hospitals. There’s a legitimate state interest in such a requirement – should something go wrong during an abortion, like for example a hemorrhage, the patient is very often going to be unable to admit herself into a hospital.

Given the rather substandard state of medical competence among the quacks who work at abortion clinics in Louisiana, which sometimes includes doctors who’ve lost their licenses, you would think the state trying to maintain some semblance of decorum within the practice would be a legitimate use of government regulatory power.

A similar case in Texas was decided against that state’s ability to regulate abortion, but there were some key differences – most notably that Texas is known for a very loose regulatory scheme when it comes to occupational licensing, whereas in Louisiana the admitting-privileges law is part and parcel of a quite restrictive licensing regime.

But it didn’t matter, because in a surprise 5-4 ruling in which Roberts sided with the four leftist justices, Louisiana’s admitting-privileges law has been thrown out.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that individuals who perform abortions at clinics have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital is unconstitutional, as it places an undue burden on women seeking abortions.

The court ruled 5-4 in the case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, with Chief Justice John Roberts once again casting a deciding vote by siding with the court’s liberal justices.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, noted that the Louisiana law is “almost word-for-word identical” to a Texas law the court ruled was unconstitutional in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. A District Court had rejected the Louisiana law because of that precedent, but a court of appeals ruled otherwise.

“We have examined the extensive record carefully and conclude that it supports the District Court’s findings of fact,” Breyer wrote. “Those findings mirror those made in Whole Woman’s Health in every relevant respect and require the same result. We consequently hold that the Louisiana statute is unconstitutional.”

Breyer noted that the District Court found that the law “offers no significant health benefit” and that “conditions on admitting privileges common to hospitals throughout the State have made and will continue to make it impossible for abortion providers to obtain conforming privileges for reasons that have nothing to do with the State’s asserted interests in promoting women’s health and safety.”

Ultimately, the majority felt that this case was virtually the same as the 2016 case, and ruled accordingly.

“This case is similar to, nearly identical with, Whole Woman’s Health,” Breyer wrote. “And the law must consequently reach a similar conclusion.”

Roberts had dissented in the 2016 case and said in a concurring opinion that while he still believes that the past case was wrongly decided, he was ruling with the majority in the present case due to court precedent.

“The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,” Roberts wrote. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

The dissents were heated. “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction,” said Justice Clarence Thomas.

In Louisiana, the reaction was no less heated.

Sen. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), a Louisiana attorney who authored the admitting-privileges law in question, lambasted the ruling. “The Supreme Court has issued a tragic decision that continues its practice of putting the interests of for-profit abortion businesses ahead of the health and safety of women,” she said. “Together with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans and women and men, we passed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to protect the health and safety of women in Louisiana. While today’s decision is not what we wanted, we will never stop working to put the women of Louisiana above the interests of the abortion businesses.

“This is just wrong in so many ways. I’m so disappointed in the Supreme Court. In a time when America is making strides to provide access to healthcare, the Court denies the women of Louisiana qualified physicians. This is true of any procedure, regardless of whether I believe in the procedure or not. I believe that all physicians providing services to women should do so in a safe and qualified manner.”

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director for Louisiana Right to Life, said: “With its decision today, the Supreme Court has given license to abortion businesses to operate shoddy clinics without credentialed physicians, binding a state’s hands to protect the safety of women. We are deeply disappointed the Supreme Court insists on continuing to serve as the national abortion control board, rather than respecting the interest of state government in protecting the health and welfare of its citizens. When abortion businesses aren’t held to the same standard of care, the health of women are at risk. Louisiana Right to Life will continue to work to enact common-sense regulations that protect both women and their unborn children from the unscrupulous and profit-driven abortion industry.”


Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund and a consulting attorney to Louisiana Right to Life, said, “Louisiana has set the standard for passing and defending bipartisan legislation that is both pro-woman and pro-life. Whatever the reason, every woman undergoing abortion deserves the customary standard of medical care owed to every member of the human family. It is a tragedy that unelected Justices have once again usurped the democratic process in a way that elevates abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women.”

Sen. John Kennedy’s statement panned the ruling as well…

“Louisianians and Americans understand that every life is valuable, whether it’s 82 years old or 82 seconds old. It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women.

“States should be able to put basic health and safety laws in place to safeguard people from the deficient care that abortion clinics too often offer them. We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.

“I have always been proud of Louisianians’ steadfast commitment to protecting life. Unborn babies are the most innocent and defenseless people in our communities, and I’ll keep fighting for the life and health of every person, including vulnerable women and children.”

The Louisiana Family Forum’s Gene Mills…

I am disappointed once again in the liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court and their newest ally, Chief Justice John Roberts, who decided against women and invalidated Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. The Court was wrong in failing to recognize the right of states to ensure access to quality emergency medical care.

Still, we are very proud of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Solicitor General, Liz Murrill, and former Representative/current Senator Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), who authored the 2014 legislation that received broad bipartisan support. It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court failed to recognize the sovereign rights of states to govern in a manner which protects women’s safety. Apparently, the U.S. Supreme Court has another agenda and will continue to retain the unconstitutional and illegitimate Roe v. Wade decision. Protecting the unborn child’s right to life is the greatest human rights issue of our time. We must stand firm in the fight.

Louisiana enacted this law to protect women from the abortion businesses and their history of dirty and dangerous abortions by requiring abortion doctors—like doctors at all Louisiana free standing clinics – to be able to admit and treat their patients at nearby hospitals if the need arises. This ensures that doctors performing abortions will be competent and provide continuity of care to their patients.

This decision sends a dangerous message to states, which have the duty to prioritize women’s health and safety over abortion business interests. All states—including Louisiana—have a valid interest in regulating abortion and a duty to protect the health and safety of women. Today’s dangerous and medically substandard abortion clinics harm women. Louisiana abortion providers went to extraordinary lengths to erase a law that promotes the wellbeing of women. The Supreme Court should have put an end to this.

Abortion doctors regularly place profits over patients. The Court failed to recognize that when abortion providers seek to overturn health and safety laws enacted to protect women, they are not operating in women’s best interests. The Court missed a chance to end this conflict of interest that rewards abortion businesses at the expense of women.

Please remain in prayer for our nation — that our Court will soon see the evil of abortion and abandon the untenable position of defending those who take innocent lives.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson…

“I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down Louisiana’s commonsense health regulation in June Medical Services v. Russo. This case was about whether the states have a right and responsibility to institute basic health and safety regulations to protect women—and whether the abortion industry should have the ability to strike down those commonsense health regulations. Today, the Court let the women of Louisiana down. This outrageous decision shows us yet again that our struggle is far from over, and we have to reaffirm our commitment to the cause of protecting the safety and the sanctity of every single human life.”

This is the third major case in which Roberts has abandoned the conservative side recently, and all three rulings were suspect in the extreme. Roberts joined in some hideously tortured reasoning in a ruling which said businesses aren’t allowed uphold behavioral standards in the workplace if those standards involve sexual preferences of employees, and then he joined in a ruling which said that a president doesn’t have the power to reverse a predecessor’s executive order even when that executive order is illegal.

And now this.

When Roberts opted to rewrite the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act to style the individual mandate as a tax in order to make the law constitutional, despite clear statements of legislative intent that it was NOT a tax and would not have passed as one, there were lots of rumors that he had been blackmailed into changing his opinion on the law’s constitutionality. That was several years ago, and things have only gotten worse.

We also have some indication as to why or how he might have been blackmailed. Lin Wood is a prominent attorney who represented Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student who won multiple huge settlements from TV networks which had libeled him, and a week ago he offered this possibility as to why Roberts has suddenly gone off the reservation…

Wood might be off base, but there is certainly something unusual going on with respect to Roberts’ recent resolutions of Supreme Court cases. The June Medical decision is not one which is consistent with a “conservative” justice, nor are the other two recent rulings. The Supreme Court has become a fountain of bad law, and Americans are entitled to know why.



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