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SCOTUS Defers on Abortion, but 2 Justices are 'at War'

Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg have drawn their 'battle lines'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 8:44 AM CDT
In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, the justices of the US Supreme Court gather for a formal group portrait.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court may have put off for now some of the core questions tied to Roe vs. Wade, but the Cut and CNN note justices Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are now "officially at war" and "drawing their battle lines." All of the justices agreed to let a lower court ruling stand that blocked an Indiana ban against abortions solely motivated by the sex, race, or disability of the fetus, while also upholding that state's law that fetal remains be buried or cremated. Ginsburg, however, noted (along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor) that she would've kept the whole Indiana law intact, and "demonstrated that she is not going quietly on any abortion-related compromise," per CNN. "This case implicates the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the state," she wrote in the lone dissenting opinion, a brief two pages.

Meanwhile, in his own opinion, Thomas wrote 10 times that amount, per BuzzFeed. Not only did he make it clear he'd support Indiana's abortion ban, but he noted "this law and other laws like it promote a State's compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics," citing Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's advocacy of birth control to control population. Thomas says Sanger's birth control arguments could also apply to abortion, though conceding she didn't push abortion as a eugenics method: "Technological advances have only heightened the eugenic potential for abortion, as abortion can now be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics, such as a particular sex or disability," he wrote. He added, "Justice Ginsburg's dissent from this holding makes little sense," while Ginsburg wrote one of his notes "displays more heat than light." (Read more Clarence Thomas stories.)

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