In his dissent of the court’s recent ruling against restrictive abortion regulations in Louisiana, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas fiercely reminded his fellow justices that a right to abortion exists nowhere within the text of the Constitution.
On Monday, the court overturned a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to retain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in a 5-4 ruling. If not for the ruling at least two of the state’s three clinics would have been forced to shut down.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, joined the court’s four liberal justices in striking down the law, arguing that the court must follow the precedent it set four years ago in striking down a nearly identical Texas law seeking to protect women from botched abortions.
In dissent, Justice Thomas, a George H. W. Bush appointee, wrote, “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”
“Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled” Thomas went on, adding that the court has “neither jurisdiction nor constitutional authority to declare Louisiana’s duly enacted law unconstitutional.”
Thomas’ dissent suggests that the abortion activists who brought the lawsuit before the court didn’t even have legal standing to do so as petitioners who file lawsuits are supposed to file such suits on their own behalf, not on behalf of others.
“As is often the case with legal challenges to abortion regulations, this suit was brought by abortionists and abortion clinics,” Thomas explained. “Their sole claim before this Court is that Louisiana’s law violates the purported substantive due process right of a woman to abort her unborn child. But they concede that this right does not belong to them, and they seek to vindicate no private rights of their own. Under a proper understanding of Article III, these plaintiffs lack standing to invoke our jurisdiction.”
“Those decisions created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text,” Thomas concluded. “Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled.”
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