Wednesday, September 28, 2005

High Court Could Address Partial-birth Rulings by Next Spring

Solicitor General Paul Clement has filed an appeal asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a national ban on partial-birth abortions. The law was challenged before it took effect and has never been enforced. Rulings in New York, California, and Nebraska have found that the law was unconstitutional because of the lack of a health exception, a measure of undue burden on a woman desiring an abortion as determined by the Supreme Court decision 5-4 to strike down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion law in 2000, with retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor voting with the majority

The Supreme Court is already dealing with a similar issue, where New Hampshire's parental notification law lacks an exception allowing a minor to have an abortion to protect her health in the event of a medical emergency.

The Bush administration thinks that the court should review both cases because the partial-birth case involves the constitutionality of a significant act of Congress that has been invalidated and permanently enjoined by the lower courts.

The earliest that justices could hear arguments on the law is next spring. The court is expected to have two new members by then with the confirmation of Chief Justice nominee John Roberts and a replacement for Justice O'Connor.

If we weren't going to get fireworks on the second nominee before, we are all but guaranteed them now.

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