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Is The Roberts Court Planning To Take Another One For The (Republican) Team?

I don't think the Roberts Court took this case with the understanding that it would drive voter turnout on both sides. I think the case was taken in order to drive turnout on one side.
Is The Roberts Court Planning To Take Another One For The (Republican) Team?
Image from: DonkeyHotey

There are crazy things happening in Paris right now, but I don't know enough to write anything remotely informed about them, so I'll just get this out.

The Supreme Court is about to revisit Roe v. Wade:

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider the constitutionality of a Texas abortion law that has already shut down more than half of the state’s abortion clinics, setting up what could be the biggest abortion decision in two decades in the middle of a presidential election campaign....

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, is expected to turn on whether the Texas law -- which imposes sweeping construction requirements on abortion clinics and requires providers to have hospital admitting privileges -- is "an undue burden" on women’s access to the procedure.

That story is from Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn, who writes:

The timing of the decision, likely next June, is expected to drive voter turnout, galvanizing those on both sides of the abortion debate to turn out for a presidential candidate who shares their views on one of the nation's most polarizing social issues.

I don't think so.

I don't think the Roberts Court took this case with the understanding that it would drive voter turnout on both sides. I think the case was taken in order to drive turnout on one side -- the Republican side, needless to say.

And what kind of decision would do that? Obviously a decision that rejects the conservative position. If the Court, fives months before a presidential election, gives abortion opponents everything they want from this ruling -- ultimately, the ability to use restrictive measures to shut down all the abortion providers in conservative-controlled states -- that's not going to motivate Republicans to turn out. Republican voters are going to be mad as hell and want to turn out if they're angry at the Court, and if they feel that their only hope of getting a Court to their liking is to vote Republican.


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So I think the plan is that the Court is going to expose itself, yet again, to wingnut rage. This happened in 2012, when the Court upheld Obamacare -- that decision, I still believe, was meant to be a voting motivator for Republicans, even though it failed to elect a president. I think the 2015 refusal to overturn Obamacare was also a way to avoid taking the health care law off the tale as a base-motivating issue.

Yes, both decisions also upheld a law that most large businesses accept (and some large businesses see as a cash cow). That sort of thing matters a lot to this Court. (Big businesses also like gay rights, hence the Court's gay marriage decision.) But I think Roberts et al. are also very much aware of right-wing voter rage -- and they want to inspire more of it.

So I think they're going to take one for the GOP team again. If necessary, Roberts himself might even find a way to come down on the side of rejecting the Texas restrictions, just as he found a way to back Obamacare in 2012.

Though perhaps if Trump or Carson is the Republican nominee and polls show Hillary Clinton so far ahead in the race that a GOP victory is out of reach, the Court might vote to uphold all the restrictions. But I'm betting on a full or partial rejection of the Texas law.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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