Saturday, November 19, 2005

Something we should ALL know

What the courts actually say in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I've been reading it a lot lately for my Women and Law class and tonight I'm reading it all again so I can write a paper (it's nothing exciting - just a max 5pg midterm). So I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with all of you out there so you, too, can know what was really said (and then pass it since this is the big deal with Alito now). I move on to Roe v. Wade next so maybe I'll post snippets of that, too.

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Robert P. Casey, Attorney General
505 U.S. 833; 112 S.Ct. 2791; 120 L.Ed.2d 674; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4751; 60 U.S.L.W. 4795; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8982; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 663

On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. A majority of the members of the court joined portions of an opinion holding that (1) the statutory provision defining a medical emergency did not violate the due process clause, (2) the provision requiring spousal notice violated the due process clause, and (3) the essential holding of Roe v Wade which held that (a) a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion before her fetus is viable and to obtain an abortion without undue interference from a state, (b) a state has the power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the state law imposing such a restriction contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger a woman's life or health, and (c) a state has legitimate interests from the outset of a pregnancy in protecting the health of the pregnant woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child--should be retained and reaffirmed.
(affirmed=SCOTUS agrees with lower courts decision; reversed=SCOTUS didn't agree with lower courts decision; remanded=SCOTUS sent it back to the lower courts for another look; I'm hoping everyone knows what the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment is)

In a joint opinion by O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., announcing the judgment of the court, and joined in pertinent part by Stevens and Blackmun, JJ., it was held that (2) the provision requiring spousal notice violated the due process clause by imposing an undue burden on a woman's abortion rights, because the notice requirement enabled a husband to wield, in effect, an unconstitutional veto over his wife's decision concerning an abortion; and (3) consideration of the fundamental constitutional questions resolved by Roe v Wade, of principles of institutional integrity, and of the rule of stare decisis required that the essential holding of Roe v Wade be retained and reaffirmed. (4) the provision requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice violated the due process clause by placing an undue burden on a woman's choice; and (5) the trimester framework of Roe v Wade should be rejected.
These are snippets of the opinion taken from the case opinion on LexisNexis. Everybody should have access to this database because it's got most, if not all, the cases the SCOTUS has decided on before the 1960s to present. Below will be individual additions to the opinion. I think they are important because it shows just how diverse the opinion of the court was. Btw, PP v. Casey was argued in April 1992, decided in June 1992.

Stevens, J.,(1) Roe v Wade was an integral part of a correct understanding of both the concept of liberty and the basic equality of men and women; (3) a state could promote its preference for normal childbirth by funding childbirth, creating and maintaining alternatives to abortion, and espousing the virtues of family, but must respect an individual's freedom to choose between childbirth and abortion; (4) the court properly determined that (a) the medical emergency provision was valid, (b) the provision requiring spousal notice was invalid, and (c) the provisions requiring record keeping and reporting were valid, except that the provision requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice was invalid; and (5) with respect to the statutory provision concerning informed consent, (a) the portion requiring a physician or counselor to provide a woman with a range of materials clearly designed to persuade her to choose not to undergo an abortion was unconstitutional, because the state could not inject such information into a woman's deliberations just as she was weighing such an important choice, and (b) the 24-hour waiting period was unconstitutional, where there was no evidence that the mandated delay benefited women or was necessary to enable a physician to convey any relevant information to a patient.

Blackmun, J., (2) state restrictions on abortion (a) violated a woman's right of privacy by infringing upon her right to bodily integrity and depriving her of the right to make her own decision about reproduction and family planning, (blogger note: I love this sentence) and (b) implicated constitutional guarantees of gender equality; (3) the trimester framework required in Roe v Wade should not be disturbed.
And here we switch thinking gears, big time. I didn't edit these because it helps to see just where they stand. It's also important to remember that now Chief Justice Roberts once clerked for Rehnquist and has argued many cases before SCOTUS.

Rehnquist, Ch. J., joined by White, Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., (1) Roe v Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled; (2) a woman's interest in having an abortion is a form of liberty protected by the due process clause, but states may regulate abortion procedures in ways rationally related to a legitimate state interest; and (3) the challenged statutory provisions should be upheld in their entirety, because (a) the informed consent provision was rationally related to the state's interest in assuring that a woman's consent to an abortion be fully informed, and the 24-hour waiting period reasonably furthered the state's legitimate interests in maternal health and in the unborn life of the fetus, (b) the parental consent provision was consistent with the Supreme Court's previous decisions involving parental consent requirements, (c) the spousal notice provision was a rational attempt to improve truthful communication between spouses and encourage collaborative decisionmaking, (d) the court properly determined that the medical emergency provision was valid, and (e) the statute's reporting requirements rationally furthered the state's legitimate interests in medical knowledge concerning maternal health and prenatal life, in gathering statistical information concerning patients, and in assuring compliance with other provisions of the statute.

Scalia, J., joined by Rehnquist, Ch. J., and White and Thomas, JJ., concurring (1) a woman's liberty to abort her unborn child is not a liberty protected by the Federal Constitution, because (a) the Constitution says nothing about abortion, and (b) the longstanding traditions of American society permitted abortion to be legally proscribed; (2) applying the rational-basis test, the state statute should be upheld in its entirety; (3) Roe v Wade was plainly wrong, and the Supreme Court should get out of this area of the law, where it has no right to be; and (4) the undue burden standard was inherently manipulable and would prove unworkable in practice.
For the record, Roe v. Wade specifically states that women have a right to privacy and bodily autonomy under the right to liberty under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. It also demands that no state make any laws that could impede on this right at all. Casey is what will be used to help determine the parental consent law in New Hampshire on November 30th in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire.