Democrats feared the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could threaten the existence of the 1973 abortion case Roe v. Wade as a legal precedent.
But they never expected that more than 200 members of Congress — including a couple of their fellow Democrats — would petition the Supreme Court to reconsider, and possibly end, Roe v. Wade themselves.
A united front
According to The Hill, the effort against Roe v. Wade is led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).
Scalise was able to get 166 House Republicans and 39 GOP senators to sign on to the petition, the outlet noted. He also managed to get Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) to hop on board.
“Forty-six years after Roe was decided, it remains a radically unsettled precedent,” the lawmakers wrote in a brief filed in support of a Louisiana law that is set to be challenged in the high court in March.
The fact that Rep. Lipinski supported this effort has not gone unnoticed. Democrats have already targeted him for a primary challenge, and this latest decision will surely seal that deal.
A case on the docket
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is slated to hear several rather significant abortion cases in the coming months, so the timing of this petition is understandable.
In this particular case, a Louisiana abortion law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals before they can perform clinic abortions is being challenged. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, it has been argued that it would significantly reduce the number of providers in Louisiana who would be able to perform abortions.
Detractors of the law say that since there are rarely abortion-related emergencies requiring a hospital stay, the new legislation is simply overreaching and doing an end-around on Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose.
But those supporting the new law have stated that abortion clinics are not interested in the safety of their patients at all by having such a low threshold for doctors who perform such procedures.
In 2016, a similar law was struck down that involved an almost identical situation in Texas. If that law had been upheld, it would have led to the closure of roughly half the abortion clinics in Texas.
The Louisiana law, however, has already been upheld in the Texas-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, because, the court said, it was “remarkably different” from the Texas law referred to above. Only time will tell if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.