By Dave Andrusko
On Tuesday, in a 146-page decision, 144 pages of which no doubt could have been written in advance, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, a Barack Obama appointee and a reliable ally of the Abortion Industry, dutifully granted the ACLU a Temporary Restraining Order against four pro-life Arkansas laws.
Acts 45, 1018, 733, and 603 were overwhelmingly approved by the Arkansas legislature which, of course, was of no matter to Judge Baker.
Those four laws, which Judge Baker preliminarily enjoined in July 2017, banned the dismemberment of living unborn babies; protected unborn babies who would be aborted solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome; required forensic samples from abortions performed on a minor; and mandated humane disposal of the aborted baby’s remains.
Of course, the TRO was just a first request, a stopgap measure. “The restraining order that Baker issued Tuesday is in effect until Jan. 5, but the ACLU has already filed a request for a preliminary injunction, which would also block the state from enforcing the laws,” according to Neal Earley, writing for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Pro-life Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has gone toe-to-toe with Judge Baker on numerous occasions.
“I am disappointed in Judge Baker’s decision to again temporarily block Arkansas laws protecting young girls from predators and sex traffickers, protecting girls from sex-selective abortions, and prohibiting particularly barbaric abortion practices,” Rutledge said in a statement. “Arkansas has repeatedly prevailed when it has appealed similar rulings by Judge Baker and will ultimately do so again.”
Much of the decision merely replows in tedious detail familiar ground previously tilled by Judge Baker. The decision reads as if it was written by the ACLU, which is no surprise.
Max Brantley, the pro-abortion editor of the Arkansas Times, noted in passing how Judge Baker had greased the skids for the ACLU over the objections of Arkansas Solicitor General Nicholas Bronni:
Baker had earlier rejected a motion by the state to dismiss and allowed the plaintiff, Dr. Frederick Hopkins, to file an amended complaint adding a plaintiff, Little Rock Family Planning [LRFP], and additional state defendants to ensure all bases are covered in the protracted legal wrangling, which will continue whether a temporary restraining order is issued or not.
Judge Baker’s conclusion reads
For the foregoing reasons, the Court determines that Dr. Hopkins and LRFP have met their burden for the issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the challenged Mandates as specified by the terms of this Order to maintain the status quo for 14 days. Therefore, the Court grants Dr. Hopkins and LRFP’s motion for temporary restraining order (Dkt. No. 69). The Court temporarily restrains defendants, and all those acting in concert with them, from enforcing the requirements of [the four laws].
What is ever-so-slightly surprisingly is Judge Baker writes as if she is oblivious to the reasoning of the three-judge panel which originally dissolved her injunction (a decision subsequently upheld by the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals) which had carefully explained why these laws are constitutional.
As we noted on Tuesday, Courthouse News provided a very nice summary of the 8thCircuit’s reasoning for upholding the three-judge panel’s conclusion:
In their decision reversing the district court’s injunction [Judge Baker’s] that had previously blocked the regulations, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals cited June Medical Services v. Russo, the Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling striking down a Louisiana abortion restriction. Though Chief Justice Roberts sided with the court’s liberal bloc, he offered his own separate opinion. In it, he wrote that states do not have to prove that the benefits of an abortion restriction outweigh the burden on a person’s ability to access the procedure— it just has to show that it does not present a “substantial” obstacle or burden.
“Nothing about [previous Supreme Court precedent] suggested that a weighing of costs and benefits of an abortion regulation was a job for the courts,” Roberts wrote.