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How John Roberts left the door open to more state limits on abortion

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. speaks onstage during A Conversation With Chief Justice Of The United States John G. Roberts, Jr. at Temple Emanu-El on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center)

Chief Justice John Roberts provided on Monday the decisive vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana, a ringing victory for the clinics and doctors who spent years fighting a law they claimed would effectively ban the procedure in the state.

(CNN)Chief Justice John Roberts provided on Monday the decisive vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana, a ringing victory for the clinics and doctors who spent years fighting a law they claimed would effectively ban the procedure in the state.

"This was a huge victory for the Louisiana clinic, or at least a huge defeat averted, but the chief justice's opinion is a chilling sign for the future of abortion rights," said Supreme Court expert and Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP partner Joshua Matz.

While Roberts sided with the court's four liberals to strike down the Louisiana law, in a concurring opinion the chief justice left open the possibility that other states might be able to pursue similar restrictions.

Robert's opinion was "obviously concerning for us," said Julie Rikelman, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights who argued against the law before the court.

James Bopp Jr. , general counsel for the anti-abortion group National Right to Life, said that Roberts' ruling will "have to be sorted out by lower courts in the future. "

If lower courts interpret future cases in light of Roberts' opinion walking back the precedent, "that means a lot more regulations on abortion will be upheld," Bopp said.

"When you see anything coming from the court that opens a door, then that is concerning," she said, noting that the perceived impacts of Roberts' decision would vary across sides of the abortion fight.

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