Kavanaugh sides with liberals in Planned Parenthood case

Justice Thomas Accuses Colleagues of Avoiding Abortion Issues as SCOTUS Passes on Planned Parenthood Defunding Appeal

They involve challenges to moves in Kansas and Louisiana, among many other states, to prevent Medicaid patients from choosing Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services. The states say that the Medicaid program, a joint venture of federal and state governments to provide health care to poorer Americans, makes clear that only the Secretary of Health and Human Services can intervene, by withholding money from a state.

The court's action showed a split among the panel's conservatives, and might indicate a reluctance by the majority to take on controversial cases at a time when the Supreme Court is in the political spotlight.

Thomas was joined in his disapproving dissent by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. This is one short of the four needed.

The news on Monday may come as some consolation to abortion rights advocates who opposed Kavanaugh, fearing that the judge - who was replacing moderate retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy - would immediately work to restrict access to abortions.

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case which would allow states to block the use of Medicaid for healthcare services at Planned Parenthood. Though Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh did give Planned Parenthood a victory today, the decision does not necessarily mean they do not have "serious objections" to the case, according to CNN Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck.

'So what explains the court's refusal to do its job here?' Thomas wrote.

In the Louisiana and Kansas cases before the Supreme Court, federal appeals courts based in Denver and New Orleans found there is a right to sue. "Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty".

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Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson told CNA that she did not agree with the court's decision. "Those services are barely offered, if at all at some Planned Parenthoods", added Johnson. "We won't stop fighting for every patient who relies on Planned Parenthood for lifesaving, life-changing care". "The question presented also affects the rights of the States", which are dissaded from making policy decisions they believe to be in the public interest by threats of costly and complex lawsuits. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court's liberals in voting to deny the petition for a writ of certiorari.

Of course, Supreme Court justices don't always vote the way people expected them to.

Abortion opponents said they hope the court will take up the issue in future cases.

Louisiana and Kansas attempted to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates following the release of undercover videos in 2015 alleging that the group engaged in illegal trafficking in fetal tissue.

"They are about private rights of action under the Medicaid Act", he wrote. If we didn't have lawless hyperactive lower courts engaging in a daily constitutional convention, that would actually be a good thing, as the judiciary should be a boring place with no input into political issues, which should be left up to the political branches.

Thomas claims that his colleagues were wary of inserting themselves into such a contentious issue. Abortion rights groups maintain that the Daleiden videos were edited to be misleading, and Planned Parenthood later sued his group.

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