On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request from the Trump administration to reinstate restrictions on abortion that had been temporarily lifted amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an order in 2000 that demanded that abortion-inducing drugs only be taken in the presence of a doctor, but amidst possible dangers of in-person travel and contact, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang paused that restriction in July in response to a lawsuit from the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a coalition of doctors and patients. The Trump Administration is seeking the reinstatement of the rule.
The Supreme Court has sent the abortion restrictions case to a federal trial court in Maryland and ordered that court to decide on the Trump administration’s request within 40 days. Apparently, only two members of the Supreme Court — Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — dissented with the decision to turn down the Trump administration’s request to act and send the case over to a lower court. Currently, the court has a total of just eight members following the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, five of whom lean conservatively — but only two of whom lean conservatively enough to have wanted action on the Trump administration’s request, apparently.
Alito and Thomas also recently presented a dissenting opinion in which they argued on behalf of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage across the country. They are also the only two Justices who ruled in favor of the president in an infamous case that the court dealt with recently in which Trump had been trying to evade compliance with a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who is after Trump’s financial records. (That case is ongoing.) Both of Trump’s own nominees, including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, ruled against him on the tax case.
Trump and his Republican allies have faced steep criticism for rushing to confirm a replacement for Ginsburg before Election Day, despite the fact that the election is already ongoing. During the first and so far only presidential debate, Trump belligerently contested the idea that his nominee to replace Ginsburg — Judge Amy Coney Barrett — would herself go after abortion. Trump ranted at Biden that Biden doesn’t “know [Barrett’s] view on Roe v. Wade,” as if trying to suggest that Democrats’ concern is unfounded.