On February 7, 2019, Chief Justice John Roberts, siding with the liberal Supreme Court Justices, ruled that a newly proposed law in Louisiana seeking to limit legal abortion must be stayed, pending timely submission of a writ of cert. The plaintiffs in Louisiana, in essence, want to overturn a ruling made by the Supreme Court in a Texas case known as HB2. In that case, Justice Roberts dissented, but the case became law by a 5-4 majority, which became precedent with respect to requiring doctors to have hospital admissions privileges in order to perform abortions. The Louisiana law is virtually identical to the Texas law, which was struck down three years ago, and Justice Roberts rightfully granted the stay.
As expected, Justice Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the majority ruling in the Louisiana case. In his dissent, Justice Kavanaugh claimed that he needs “additional information” before he can rule with the majority. What “additional information” Kavanaugh needs beyond what can be found in the ruling made in HB2 three years ago is telling. Rather than ruling based on the law, he is ruling based on his beliefs. Critics called him out on it and pointed to Republican Senator Susan Collins and her deciding vote to allow him on the Supreme Court as a big “I told you so.”
The backlash against Collins was harsh and swift. Now, she claims that her “detractors” haven’t even read the Kavanaugh dissent. I have. The detractors are correct that, as suspected, Kavanaugh would ultimately make rulings based on his desire to end legal abortion as we know it in this country. His dissent relies on “what ifs” and his belief that “the doctors have time to try to gain admission privileges,” which is not the issue. These doctors have been providing abortions in clinical settings in accordance with the law, and there is absolutely no reason to overturn the law of the land, especially in light of the ruling in HB2. This law and Kavanagh’s dissent are merely attempts to strike down legal abortion, and no one is fooled.
Susan Collins’ days in the Senate are numbered. Attempting to rationalize a dissent that clearly goes against established law does her absolutely no good. She ran on “term limits” all those years ago to gain a seat in the first place – an issue she has yet to address even after 22 years. So much for her term limits. The citizens of Maine will not be fooled by her talking out of both sides of her mouth again.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years