Roberts Sides with Liberals and Blocks Louisiana Abortion Bill


Julia Niehoff

By Julia Niehoff


In 2016, Chief Justice Roberts at the Supreme court voted to uphold a Texas abortion bill, ruling to limit abortion in the southern state. Three years later, Louisiana’s legislature has set up a bill drawing  the cause to the same fate, which would leave only one clinic and one doctor to perform legal abortions.

Historically, Roberts has leaned more conservative. After the makeup of the Supreme Court changed with new appointee Brett Kavanaugh, many consider the present to be a new era for the conservatives. However, the biggest mission of conservatives– to overturn  Roe v. Wade–faced a big hurdle in this court case on Thursday.

Most importantly, this case was the first after the major shift with the new appointees and a more conservative court. As Trump’s latest appointee, he wants someone to strike down Roe, and Kavanaugh seems as though he will. From previous cases on smaller federal courts, Kavanaugh has tried to restrict access to abortion.

The case is about a 2014 Louisiana Law that its opponents went to the Supreme Court of an “emergency application” (New York Times), and argue if the law violated the “constitutional right to abortion”. At around 9:30 pm, the decision was made, with a surprising makeup of judges on either side. Roberts joined the liberals in a 5-to-4 split, which effectively blocked the bill from going into effect.

Liberals should not have their hopes up, as according to many experts, this may not mean that Roberts will not protect Roe v. Wade, but it does not also mean that Roberts will protect it. However, it now seems Roberts is more of a swing vote with this latest ruling. More “nuanced than expected”, this surprise decision made the attack on Roe more unknown than before.