Amy Howe reports for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court, that on Saturday, “Planned Parenthood asked the justices to vacate a ruling by a federal appeals court and to allow ‘medication abortions’ – that is, abortions induced by taking two pills by mouth – to go forward while it challenges a near-total ban on abortions in Texas” imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At The Hill, John Kruzel and Marty Johnson report that “[a]t the moment, Texas women are prohibited from having medication abortions and surgical abortions are only available to Texas women about to reach their 22nd week of pregnancy.” Greg Stohr reports at Bloomberg that “[t]he clinics are seeking to let pill-induced abortions resume, saying they don’t require protective equipment.” Additional coverage comes from Adam Liptak for The New York Times and Robert Barnes for The Washington Post (subscription required). At The Economist,  Steven Mazie writes that “[e]ven with their sharpening divisions on other matters, the justices may agree that the pandemic should not provide cover for arbitrarily shelving constitutional rights.”

At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen weighs in on last week’s decision in Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, which blocked a lower court order extending the deadline for mailing absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s election because of the pandemic, arguing that the opinion not only shows “a nonchalance about the importance of voting rights in the most dire circumstances,” but indicates “that the Court majority did not look for a way to build a bridge for a unanimous compromise opinion,” signaling “that we are going to have partisan warfare at the Court for the upcoming election.” At Justia’s Verdict blog, Michael Dorf maintains that, although “one would need to be especially naïve to think that partisanship played no role” in the decision, the majority also “appealed to a principle that conservatives on the Court hold dear in other circumstances as well[:] Lamentably, however, that principle is a kind of fetishistic attachment to rules.”

Briefly:

  • For The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin report that “[a]s the presidential election looms, the justices are on the path of deciding fewer cases and deferring some heated and politically charged questions as the federal government’s executive and legislative branches confront the coronavirus pandemic,” “in contrast to the many state judiciaries and lower federal courts that have adapted to social-distancing rules by prioritizing certain categories of cases and shifting to new communications technologies.”
  • At CNN, Joan Biskupic reports that in “a lively Zoom chat with students at the United Nations International School,” Justice Stephen Breyer “offer[ed] a glimpse of the justices’ private negotiations against a canvas of how the law develops in America.”
  • In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Edward Blum writes that “the U.S. Supreme Court was petitioned recently to take up Higginson v. Becerra, a case that challenges the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act[:] If the justices accept the case and declare it unconstitutional, as they should, hundreds of California cities, school districts, and other jurisdictions that have been forced to adopt racially gerrymandered, single-member election districts during the last few years may choose to restore their previous nonracial forms of governance.”
  • On the three-year anniversary of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s joining the Supreme Court bench, Mike Davis and David Feder write at Townhall that “G orsuch has already proven to be a grand slam for anyone who cares about interpreting the Constitution as written; for anyone who cares about the differences between judges and legislators; and for anyone who cares about protecting individual liberty.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 13, 2020, 6:46 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/04/monday-round-up-481/