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Old 08 February 2019, 04:33 AM
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Default Supreme Court Blocks Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

Supreme Court Blocks Louisiana Abortion Restrictions https://nyti.ms/2DZ3VbG
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The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the courtís four-member liberal wing to form a majority. That coalition underscored the pivotal position the chief justice has assumed after the departure last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who used to hold the crucial vote in many closely divided cases, including ones concerning abortion.
The courtís brief order gave no reasons, and its action ó a temporary stay ó did not end the case. The court is likely to hear a challenge to the law on the merits in its next term, which starts in October.
[...]
For Chief Justice Roberts, it was something of a turnaround, at least for now. He dissented in the courtís last major abortion case in 2016, voting to uphold a Texas law essentially identical to the one at issue in Thursdayís case.
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Old 08 February 2019, 02:01 PM
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For Chief Justice Roberts, it was something of a turnaround, at least for now. He dissented in the courtís last major abortion case in 2016, voting to uphold a Texas law essentially identical to the one at issue in Thursdayís case.
Don't know how this one will come out in the long run; but one thing I always think of when I see people call for an amendment to limit length of terms for the Supremes is that they often -- not always -- become more liberal over time.

I have some faint hope that this is happening to Roberts; though of course he may just call for the Court to hear this, and then uphold it when it gets there.
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Old 08 February 2019, 05:25 PM
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Part of me wonders is if in some of the closer decisions, thereís actually a wider margin among the conservative Justices who recognize that their personal views are in the wrong, at least as far as Constituonality goes, but they want to preserve a "veil of tenusousness"* about their decisions, so instead of all voting what they know/understand to be right (but find personally distasteful) they get together and settle on one sacrificial Justice to come forward and be "the swing vote". That way all the rest can say what they want to say in their descents and continue with the pretense that "it's far from a settled issue" when deep down they know it is.

*It's a pretty awkward expression, Iíll admit, but I canít think of a better shorthand way to describe it. As my theory goes, the benefit (for the involved Justices) in keeping it to a 5-4 decision, apart from being able to continue to hang out with their ultra-conservative friends, is that it might have a chilling effect on more radical (that is, favoring the liberal) departures from their preferred world-view, even as they must, hypothetically, admit theirs is not in keeping with the Constitution and existing case law.

And yes, I am aware this all comes across as incredibly naive. Probably because it is.
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Old 08 February 2019, 06:03 PM
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I think that a lot of right wing politicians hope that Roe v Wade stays like it is, since this way they can harp on it and rail against it, getting votes and donations. If they just ran on their real concerns, of reducing taxes on the rich and working to get the rich richer, they would not get anywhere near as many votes or donations. With the law as it is, they get to keep the base fired up.
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Old 08 February 2019, 07:08 PM
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ASL, I don't know that it's necessary to posit a deliberately expressed agreement among several Justices; or possibly even to posit a conscious decision on the part of the swing voter. But it's quite possible that without its being clearly expressed in the front of the mind, taking a public position that doesn't change the effect of the ruling doesn't feel like the same thing as taking a position that will change the effect of the ruling. It may be easier, and require less introspection and less study, to hold to a position that one's on some level no longer quite sure of, when one knows that doing so won't have an immediate practical effect on the lives of a lot of other people.
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Old 08 February 2019, 10:03 PM
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This other NYT article from December keeps popping up on my widget; it does seem apropos:

John Roberts, Leader of Supreme Courtís Conservative Majority, Fights Perception That It Is Partisan https://nyti.ms/2RlcjKd

Quote:
With the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and his replacement by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, the chief justice has the votes he needs on issues like abortion, racial discrimination, religion and voting. At the same time, he has taken Justice Kennedyís place as the swing vote at the courtís ideological center, making him the most powerful chief justice in 80 years.

But all of that new power comes at a dangerous time for the court, whose legitimacy depends on the public perception that it is not a partisan institution. ďWe donít work as Democrats or Republicans,Ē Chief Justice Roberts said in 2016, and he reiterated that position in an extraordinary rebuke of President Trump last month.

He seemed to underscore that point again on Friday, joining the courtís four-member liberal wing, all appointed by Democratic presidents, to reject a request from the Trump administration in a case that could upend decades of asylum policy. This month, he drew sharp criticism from three conservative colleagues for voting to deny review in two cases on efforts to stop payments to Planned Parenthood.

[...]
Controlling the pace of change on a court whose conservative wing is eager to move fast will be the central problem of the next phase of Chief Justice Robertsís tenure, said Daniel Epps, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

ďIf heís smart, and he is, what heís probably thinking is, ĎI do have a substantive agenda of things I want to accomplish. But itís a lot easier to do that when the court retains its legitimacy. Letís do as much as we can get away with, but maybe thatís a little less than some of my colleagues to my right think we can get away with,íĒ Professor Epps said.
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Old 09 February 2019, 12:21 AM
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For Chief Justice Roberts, it was something of a turnaround, at least for now. He dissented in the court’s last major abortion case in 2016, voting to uphold a Texas law essentially identical to the one at issue in Thursday’s case.
Doesn't that answer the question of why he voted to stay? He does have some respect for precedence, so if an essentially identical law has already been struck down, I would expect him to put a stay here, and I would expect him to vote to strike down the law if the case comes before him.
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Old 09 February 2019, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
Doesn't that answer the question of why he voted to stay? He does have some respect for precedence, so if an essentially identical law has already been struck down, I would expect him to put a stay here, and I would expect him to vote to strike down the law if the case comes before him.
This is what I had heard -- that whether he agrees with the earlier ruling, he is apt to respect precedent, regarding it as "settled law." At least up to a point.
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Old 10 February 2019, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
I think that a lot of right wing politicians hope that Roe v Wade stays like it is, since this way they can harp on it and rail against it, getting votes and donations. If they just ran on their real concerns, of reducing taxes on the rich and working to get the rich richer, they would not get anywhere near as many votes or donations. With the law as it is, they get to keep the base fired up.
While the true believers that make up the Christian Right probably genuinely believe in the anti-Choice rhetoric, Iíve often wondered to what extent Rightwing politicians do. I imagine there are true believers (definitely get that vibe from Mike Pence), but I wonder if for most of them, itís a cynical ploy.

Though while individual members of the Christian Right may believe the anti-choice rhetoric, I wonder to what extent the ruling bodies do, like your Falwells, Grahams, and the like.

Because if they really believe that abortion is murder and killing a first trimester embryo is equivalent to killing a thirty-three-year-old me, if they really believe in the whole abortion holocaust meme, they would be doing more than just voting Republican at every election in hopes that they will possibly put a justice on the court who will someday overturn Roe v. Wade.

The immortal Fred Clark has a whole post about that point. Despite being nearly ten years old, the post is still very relevant. Iíll quote a few passages.

Quote:
Paul Hill argued that abortion was the moral equivalent of the Nazi Holocaust ó just like the National Right to Life Committee, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family and dozens of other evangelical groups said it was. If thatís true, Hill said, then he wasnít merely justified, but obligated to take up arms against abortionists. If youíre confronted with an evil equal in magnitude to that of Adolf Hitler ó as all these groups insisted was the case ó then surely one is obliged to do more than vote Republican every four years in the hopes of one day appointing enough judges to change the law of the land. Confronted with what all of these groups assured him was the Holocaust, he decided to become Claus von Stauffenberg.

Yet when Hill repeated their own argument and their own rhetoric back to them, these groups all recoiled. They all claimed to share Hillís premise, but not to share his conclusion. That wonít work. Hillís violent conclusion arose logically from that shared premise. If he was a madman to be condemned ó as all those groups suddenly insisted he was ó it was because of the madness of that premise. So how was it possible they could repudiate him without also repudiating that rhetoric that compelled him to act?
Post also talks about something else, regarding the Christian Right. Theyíve long spread the meme that Roe v. Wade was their call to arms, but if you look at statements from most mainline Protestant groups following the decision in 1973, most had neutral or positive views of it. Being anti-abortion was considered to be one of those weird things that only Catholics really cared about.

The real reason for the shift, is that the Christian Right mobilized to fight against integration, but at some point, they basically realized that they had lost the argument, and if they wanted to have any continual influence in politics, they needed a new issue to fire up the base and keep themselves as major players on the political stage.

In this sense, abortion wound up being the ideal issue to rally against. It gave them the perfect out: no matter how repugnant their behavior may be, the Christian Right could go, ďOh yeah, well you kill babies,Ē thus dismissing their opponent and enabling them to claim the moral high ground on any issue.
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Old 10 February 2019, 06:24 AM
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I think that Republican politicians are also aware that support for access to birth control and family planning around the country, so they publicly support restrictions because that motivates political donations during election years, but then try to avoid actually doing much about it because that might backfire and turn more mainstream voters away from them.
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