TheHill reports the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana abortion law, handing a win to abortion rights advocates who feared the conservative court would break with past rulings to rein in protections that emerged from the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.
The justices voted 5-4 to invalidate Louisiana’s admitting-privilege law in the first major abortion ruling of the Trump era, which came after the court struck down a nearly identical Texas law four years ago.
The decision Monday was the clearest indication yet that the court, which now tilts more conservative with the addition of President Trump’s two nominees, is pursuing a more restrained approach than many abortion rights advocates feared.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal bloc to form a bare majority. In a concurring opinion, Roberts said his vote was guided by deference to prior rulings, particularly the court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down a nearly identical Texas law.
“The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,” Roberts wrote. “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.”
Justice Stephen Breyer, who penned the majority decision four years ago in Hellerstedt, also wrote the majority opinion in Monday’s decision. In addition to Roberts, he was joined by liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.