Supreme Court to hear Louisiana Admitting Privileges Case

The US Supreme Court decided to review the June Medical Services case, which involves the constitutionality of Louisiana’s law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. In 2016, the Court invalidated a similar Texas law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In September 2018, in June Medical Services, the Fifth Circuit distinguished Whole Woman’s Health and upheld Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. On February 7, 2019, the US Supreme Court stayed the Fifth Circuit’s ruling. The grant of the stay was by a 5-4 vote.

Supporters of abortion rights were hoping that the Court would summarily reverse the Fifth Circuit but the Court has now decided to hear oral arguments in the case. The decision to hear the case sets the stage for what could be a major ruling. The Court could of course decide to overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Most observers anticipate though that the Court will uphold the Louisiana law in a narrow ruling. The Court might overrule its 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health or simply distinguish the Louisiana case on its facts, which is what the Fifth Circuit did.  Either approach would afford states more of an opportunity to restrict abortion.

Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.