Abortion Constitutionality

Supreme Court refuses to review decision invalidating Arizona abortion restriction

On Monday December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court refused to review a Ninth Circuit ruling that held unconstitutional an Arizona “law that requires abortionists to use federal standards in administering chemical abortions.”  The FDA protocol, which was developed in 2000, calls for RU-486 to be used only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy.  Since that time, many abortion clinics have departed from the FDA standards and the Arizona law was designed to prevent these “off-label” uses.

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling is inconsistent with rulings from other federal courts that have upheld similar laws in Texas and Ohio. The courts have disagreed about whether these laws are consistent with the “undue burden” standard the Supreme Court developed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the Arizona law is not a ruling on the merits and does not have precedential effect. That has not stopped speculation about the Court’s refusal to review the case.  Many observers believe that the Supreme Court will soon agree to hear a same-sex marriage case and it may be that the Court is not inclined to consider an abortion case at the same time it considers same-sex marriage.

Richard M.

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.