The Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law Monday, a dramatic victory for abortion rights activists and a bitter disappointment to conservatives in the first showdown on the controversial issue since President Trump’s remake of the court.
As with other recent liberal victories at the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was key in the 5-to-4 decision. He joined the court’s liberals rather than his conservative colleagues, including Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Roberts said the Louisiana law could not stand given the court’s 2016 decision to overturn a similar Texas law, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
“The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,” Roberts wrote in concurring with the decision. “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.”