Lyle Denniston writes:
In a matter of days, the Court will get a test of its current views on one of the restrictions at issue in the Texas abortion case previewed in this post: the requirement that doctors at abortion clinics have patient-admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — the same court whose rulings are at issue in this post — blocked a federal judge’s order finding a similar provision in Louisiana to be unconstitutional; the judge had barred enforcement of the privileges requirement. Lawyers for clinics and doctors in Louisiana immediately said they would ask the Supreme Court to lift the Fifth Circuit’s stay order, and put the district judge’s order back into effect. It should be noted that, in November 2013, the Supreme Court split five to four in an earlier stage of the Texas case and allowed the admitting privileges requirement at issue in that case to take effect. Justice Kennedy was in the majority in that order. The new request by the abortion providers will be the first abortion issue to reach the Court with only eight members.
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