Newly seated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with his liberal counterparts in a recent decision to pass on a case involving states’ efforts to pull Planned Parenthood funding from Medicaid programs.
Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent, meaning they each voted in favor of hearing the case. Kavanaugh, however, sided with Justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
Four justices are required to agree before a case can be granted a hearing.
In his dissent, Thomas criticized the court for its “particularly troubling” decision, arguing the case itself really had nothing to do with abortion.
“So what explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here?” Thomas wrote. “I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood.’ That makes the Court’s decision particularly troubling, as the question presented has nothing to do with abortion.”
He continued, “It is true that these particular cases arose after several States alleged that Planned Parenthood affiliates had, among other things, engaged in ‘the illegal sale of fetal organs’ and ‘fraudulent billing practices,’ and thus removed Planned Parenthood as a state Medicaid provider… But these cases are not about abortion rights.”
Thomas went on to argue the case is about “private rights of action,” noting Planned Parenthood would be free “to challenge the states’ decisions.”
The high court’s decision to pass on hearing this case is certainly noteworthy, given so many on the left argued breathlessly during his confirmation earlier this year that Kavanaugh’s appointment to the bench would result in the overturning of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion nationwide.
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