By Mary Margaret Olohan
Conservatives are turning against Chief Justice John Roberts after the Supreme Court justice sided with liberal judges in a monumental abortion ruling.
Roberts sided with liberal members of the Court in the close 5-4 ruling, writing that “the Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons.”
Pro-lifers and conservatives alike had anxiously awaited Roberts’s decision on the landmark abortion ruling, worrying that Roberts might side with the liberal justices based on his votes earlier in June.
Conservatives ripped into Roberts on Monday following news of the decision. Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk called the chief justice “a disgrace” while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee condemned Roberts as “an empty black robe.”
Political commentator Dinesh D’Souza labeled “a sizable majority of #SCOTUS justices” including Justices Anthony Kennedy and Roberts, “unreliable turncoats.”
“Roberts has destroyed any credibility the Court may have had,” tweeted commentator Mark Levin. “He’s a disgrace.”
The action arm of the Heritage Foundation, a D.C.-based conservative think tank, accused the Supreme Court of betraying the “rule of law and the dignity of the bench.”
Unreal. Justice Roberts just voted with the four liberals on an abortion case because of stare decisis… The precedent he's upholding is from a case just four years ago, that he dissented on. If he thought the Court got it wrong four years ago, today was his chance to correct it
— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanTAnd) June 29, 2020
“Chief Justice Roberts, who dissented in a similar case in 2016, has reversed course to cast the deciding vote to overrule the Louisiana legislature’s decision to protect women’s health,” said Executive Director Jessica Anderson in a statement.
“This is the latest in a series of judicial power grabs from the Chief Justice and the liberal wing of the court, who have consistently ruled on the basis of progressive politics instead of respecting the law, the will of voters, or the basic dignity of life.”
Heritage says John Roberts is no longer in control, dubs it "the Kagan court." pic.twitter.com/CSz8jgz4VY
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 29, 2020
Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino called the decision a “reincarnation of the ‘abortion distortion’” and blamed Roberts for leading the justices in the decision.
“Today the liberal justices, led by Chief Justice Roberts, once again appointed themselves members of our nation’s de facto medical board,” tweeted Severino. “These five decided today that they would rather be doctors than judges.”
“This is a reincarnation of the ‘abortion distortion,’” she added, “applying a different set of rules to abortion than to other issues. This was a common sense regulation mean to protect women and avoid Kermit Gosnell nightmares.”
Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster said that Roberts “forcefully asserted his independence” when House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “threatened the Court and its justices” in March.
“Today’s decision suggests his bark is louder than his bite,” Foster, whose organization fights against abortion, said in a statement. “Today is a tragic day for Louisiana and for women who deserve more, and a disastrous moment in American history for our once-independent judiciary. A brighter day lies ahead, but much work remains for Americans who care about the human right to life. We will win this fight.”
Other pro-life leaders reacted to the news with dismay.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called the ruling a “bitter disappointment,” saying in a statement that it demonstrates SCOTUS’s failure “to allow the American people to protect the well-being of women from the tentacles of a brutal and profit-seeking abortion industry.”
Today’s #SCOTUS ruling is a bitter disappointment, demonstrating once again the failure of the Court to allow the American people to protect the well-being of women from the tentacles of a brutal and profit-seeking abortion industry. https://t.co/0BctfDMef6
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) June 29, 2020
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said that the March for Life is “appalled” by the SCOTUS decision.
“The legislation at issue in June Medical Services v. Russo was designed to safeguard women’s health and safety, which the abortion business in Louisiana egregiously sidelined for the sake of profit,” she said in a statement. “No abortion facility should receive a free pass to provide substandard care. This decision underscores the importance of nominating and confirming judges who refrain from legislating from the bench, something pro-life voters will certainly remember come November.”
A spokeswoman at the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates accused SCOTUS of protecting the “practices of abortion providers at the expense of women’s wellbeing. Louisiana abortion providers have an alarming and dangerous record of substandard healthcare — including botched abortions and failure to satisfy basic sanitary requirements.”
“Unfortunately, this ruling will allow the abortion industry to continue to put profits before patients,” said NIFLA attorney Angie Thomas.
Family Research Council attorney and fellow Katherine Beck Johnson said that SCOTUS “destroyed the right of states to provide oversight and regulation of abortion clinics, treating them like every other outpatient surgery center” through the ruling.
“Not only do we disagree with the Court’s ruling that hospital admitting privileges create an ‘undue burden’ for women, but we also strongly disagree with the decision that abortionists should be able to automatically represent women in court,” Johnson said. “There is a clear conflict of interest with abortionists representing women as they prioritize profit over women’s health.”
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