Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed as “improvidently granted” the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice (docket 12-1094), an appeal from the state of Oklahoma to revive a law that restricts doctors’ use of drugs rather than surgery to perform an abortion with the medication RU-486 and others, struck down by the federal courts.
Around the same time, Planned Parenthood of Texas applied for an order setting aside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals order permitting the Texas law requiring abortion practitioners to have admitting privilieges at a nearby hospital before they may perform abortions at a clinic or in a doctor’s office. Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Abbott (13A452).
In a 5-4 decision along ideological lines, the Court declined on Tuesday to set aside the Fifth Circuit Court order. Lyle Denniston at Scotusblog.com reports, Texas abortion law left in effect:
Splitting five to four, the Supreme Court late Tuesday afternoon refused to block a Texas abortion law that critics say is forcing the closing of one-third of all clinics in the state. The Court had been studying the issue for the past week. The majority said that the challengers had not met the requirement for setting aside a federal appeals court’s order permitting the law to take effect on October 31.
The majority specifically included Justices Antonin Scalia, who wrote separately in a concurring opinion joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Clarence Thomas. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy presumably voted with those three, because it would have taken five votes to act definitively on the plea by doctors and clinics when there were four Justices who wanted to block the law.
The specific order denying the application (13A452) was unsigned. Both Justice Scalia’s opinion and that of the dissenters referred to the result as the action of “the Court.”