Supreme Court to hear big abortion case–without Scalia

One of the most successful tactics of the pro-life movement has been to pass state laws requiring that abortion clinics measure up to the standards required of hospitals and other surgical centers.  Since most of abortion mills are unsanitary hell-holes, few can comply and they have to shut down.

Texas passed such a law, and half their abortuaries have shut down, going from 40 to 20.  But then the Supreme Court put a hold on the law; otherwise, only 10 would remain.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the case.  It will do so, however, without the late Antonin Scalia, who was consistently pro-life.  But if there is a 4-4 split, the Texas law will stand, since it was upheld by an appeals court.  Similar laws in other states, though, have been overturned by courts, and a split decision will mean those overturns will also stand. [Read more…]

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, arguably the most conservative member of the court, died Saturday at the age of 79.  Justice Scalia was a major influence in conservative jurisprudence.

With his death, President Obama would have the opportunity to extend his legacy with a Supreme Court appointment, one that would surely tip the balance towards the left.  But Republican lawmakers are saying they will block any Obama nomination, letting the next president make the appointment.

What will this mean for cases currently before the court, including those that have been voted upon but not publicly announced?  Lots.  See the details after the jump.

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LCMS congregation will go before the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from an LCMS congregation.  Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, was denied a state grant to improve its school’s playground, in the name of the separation of church and state.  This could prove to be an important case in drawing those lines.  Watch for  Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. [Read more…]

Supreme Court will rule on how much abortion can be regulated

The Supreme Court will take up its biggest abortion case in 25 years, promising to decide exactly to what extent abortion can be limited and regulated without violating a woman’s constitutional rights. [Read more…]

The new moralism of the Supreme Court

Stanley Fish is a postmodernist scholar of the highest rank, but his conclusions are not always what his fellow academics expect.  A professor both of literature and of law, Fish explains how, in previous rulings about homosexuality, the Supreme Court arrived at the principle that just because something is immoral, that doesn’t mean it should necessarily be illegal.  But in the Obergefell ruling that legalized gay marriage, the court went back to a moral standard–the new morality of tolerance, affirmation of all, personal autonomy, etc.–with hardly any reference to law. [Read more…]

The “free exercise” of religion

Justice Kennedy, in his opinion establishing gay marriage, did affirm the right of religious people to disagree with same sex unions.  But the dissenting justices warned that this ruling could cause conflicts with religious liberty.  The Constitution protects not just religious beliefs privately held, they observe, but the “free exercise” of religion.  That is, what religious people do because of their religion.

The words of these opinions are likely to be parsed closely in the days to come, and the nature of religious liberty in this country is likely to be determined by legal wrangles about what the words “free exercise” mean.  [Read more…]