Justice Thomas rejects stare decisis

Here is a link to today’s Supreme Court decision in Gamble v. United States. In Gamble, the Court decided not to overturn the dual sovereignty doctrine. Pursuant to that doctrine, it does not violate the double jeopardy clause if a state prosecutes a defendant under state law even if the federal government has already prosecuted the defendant for the same conduct under a federal statute.

Justice Thomas wrote an intriguing concurring opinion in which he rejected the use of stare decisis to avoid overturning demonstrably erroneous precedents. As an example of such rulings, Thomas mentioned the Court’s substantive due process decisions, and explicitly cited the Court’s abortion decisions as an example of an area where the Court “has doggedly adhered to these erroneous substantive-due-process precedents again and again, often to disastrous ends.” Although no other Justice joined his concurrence, Thomas’s opinion will likely fuel speculation about the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

 

DC Circuit enjoins Administration policy on abortions for undocumented minors

Here is a link to a LifeNews story about the June 14, 2019 decision from a divided panel of the United State Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court found that the policy of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to prevent shelters from facilitating abortions for “unaccompanied alien children” was likely unconstitutional.  Judge Silberman dissented. Silberman thought that the majority erred in affirming the lower court’s ruling to certify the suit as a class action and in finding that the case was not moot. Silberman also dissented on the merits. Silberman agreed with then-Judge Kavanaugh’s earlier opinion in the case that the Administration’s policy did not create an undue burden on the right to an abortion.

Maine legalizes assisted suicide

Here is a LifeNews.com reporting on Maine’s governor signing a law legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Maine is the 8th state to allow assisted suicide. The others are California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington; assisted suicide is also legal in DC and in Montana due to a court decision.

Devastating Critique of Kansas Supreme Court decision on abortion

Here is a link to a very good essay by Adam MacLeod critiquing the recent decision of the Kansas Supreme Court that found a natural right to abortion. Here is a paragraph from the essay–

“This essay considers the humorous incompetence of the opinion, not for amusement but to learn an important lesson. American constitutions contain terms of art taken from common law, including terms that refer to peculiarly Anglo-American doctrines of natural rights. If we want judges to understand and apply those terms correctly, then we must recover that tradition. Otherwise, judges will make things up, as they did in Kansas. “

AMA retains opposition to assisted suicide

Here is a story in the National Right to Life News on the vote by the AMA to retain its opposition to assisted suicide. This is a significant decision because the views of major medical associations often have an important impact when states consider legalizing assisted suicide.  The AMA’s position is that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.

“Eugenics and Other Evils”

Here is a link to a good essay in Public Discourse by Justin Dyer. The essay discusses the history of the eugenics movement and comments on Justice Thomas’s recent opinion in Box v. Planned Parenthood arguing that the state has a compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.