By Dave Andrusko
For what seemed like forever and a day, Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times. (Actually it was between 1978 and 2008.) Then, or now as a “contributing opinion writer” who “writes a biweekly column on law,” she is a tireless, relentless, and repetitious promoter of abortion.
Her latest grousing at the current Supreme Court appeared Thursday under the headline, “The Supreme Court’s Fictional Middle Ground on Abortion.”
Before I go further, understand that to Greenhouse, any limitation of abortion is like the final wooden block in a game of Jenga: it’s the movement that will topple the tower, aka Roe v. Wade.
No more than anyone else does she know what the Supreme Court will do with June Medical Services v. Russo. That’s the case the justices heard last week, challenging Louisiana’s requirement that your local friendly abortionist (actually, many of whom are not local; they parachute in to perform an incredible number of abortions in a single day) have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of emergencies.
But she does go through a couple of possibilities, none of which would end the reign of Roe—but that does not make the situation any the less dire to Greenhouse. No matter how narrow the ruling, it would be an unmitigated disaster for “anyone who cares about preserving women’s access to abortion.”
She worries the “Supreme Court will behave like politicians, and that too many of us will be too snowed by their seeming moderation to call them out on it.”
What does that mean?
Greenhouse drew her line in the sand many Supreme Court decisions ago. That aside, her basic argument in this instance is that the Louisiana law is too similar to the Texas law that the High Court upheld in 2016.
So (a) the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that concluded the two laws were different and that the Louisiana law does not impose the same “substantial burden” on women as did the Texas law in the 2016 case of Whole Woman’s Health means nothing, at least to Greenhouse. Maybe it will—because it should—matter to the Supreme Court.
And (b) the Supreme Court can never revisit previous holdings, right? Obviously not, or many of the “progressive” decisions in the past decade or two which Greenhouse no doubt supports could never have come about.
Moreover, because it applies to abortion, it no doubt angers Greenhouse, but long before President Trump appointed two new justices to the High Court, the justices took a second look at partial-birth abortion. What the Supreme Court found lacking in a state partial-birth abortion law in a decision rendered in 2000, they found had been remedied in the federal partial-birth abortion law which they upheld in 2007.
Well, we shall see. A decision is expected in June.