1. High court strikes down Louisiana abortion law, By Robert Barnes, The Washington Post, June 30, 2020, Pg. A1

The Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law Monday, a dramatic victory for abortion rights activists and a bitter disappointment to conservatives in the first showdown on the controversial issue since President Trump’s remake of the court.

As with other recent liberal victories at the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was key in the 5-to-4 decision. He joined the court’s liberals rather than his conservative colleagues, including Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Roberts said the Louisiana law could not stand given the court’s 2016 decision to overturn a similar Texas law, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.


2. One Man’s Supreme Court: The Chief Justice relies on an abortion precedent he dissented from., By The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial

So much for all those crocodile fears about the end of abortion rights. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday that a state can’t even require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital. And the logic of the concurring opinion from Chief Justice John Roberts, who provided the fifth vote, suggests not even de minimis regulation of abortion will survive his Court’s scrutiny.

Russo continues a dismaying string of rulings by the Chief Justice—less due to their result than their reasoning. He seems to think he has to protect the Court from Democratic threats to undermine its legitimacy. But in the process he is resorting to logic that looks designed to achieve political results.


3. Vatican prosecutors seize data from St. Peter’s Basilica, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 30, 2020, 6:31 AM

Vatican prosecutors have ordered the seizure of documents and computers from the administrative offices of St. Peter’s Basilica in an apparently new investigation into financial irregularities in the Holy See.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Pope Francis also named a special commissioner to run the basilica, reorganize its offices, update its statutes to comply with new Vatican norms on procurement and contracting, and to “clarify its administration.”

The Vatican said both decisions stemmed from a report from the Vatican’s auditor general. It said based on the auditor’s report, the Vatican’s criminal prosecutors authorized the seizure Tuesday of documentation and computers from the “Fabbrica di San Pietro,” the offices that manage the pope’s basilica.


4. Italian financier at heart of Vatican scandal appeals to UK court, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 30, 2020, Opinion

According to a recent report in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s paper of record, an Italian financier now based in London named Raffele Mincione has filed two civil suits against the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before the UK’s High Court of Justice, both related to a now-infamous land deal in London’s Chelsea neighborhood he brokered in 2013.

From the beginning, Mincione has insisted he did nothing wrong and that the property represents a good investment. To put his money where his mouth is, last month Mincione’s lawyers reportedly approached the Vatican about buying the property back for roughly what’s been spent on it, but, according to those accounts, the Vatican’s Promoters of Justice blocked the proposal.

The two civil actions amount to defamation claims, seeking to have the High Court declare that Mincione’s conduct was above board and thus that the Vatican unfairly has injured his reputation by presenting him publicly as a suspect.

It remains to be seen whether the High Court will agree to hear the cases, and, if so, how they may turn out. In the meantime, three aspects of the situation are worth noting.

First, should the High Court take up Mincione’s claims, the stage could be set to have the same set of facts adjudicated by two different courts, one in the Vatican and one in the UK. Such a scenario would invite an interesting compare-and-contrast dynamic at the end.

One would imagine they’d want to be especially sure of both the facts and the law, since it would be embarrassing to have another court rule, in effect, that they set up Mincione as a fall guy.

If Mincione actually believes himself to be innocent, this may be smart strategy, perhaps one of the few ways a layman external to the Vatican can gain a bit of leverage in its internal deliberations.

Second, Mincione and Torzi are the latest in a long list of Italian bankers, businessmen and financiers whose names always seem to surface in the role of the villain whenever there’s a financial mess in the Vatican.

In each case, the suggestion is that it was these laymen who were the masterminds of the affair – which, conveniently or not, has the effect of shifting culpability away from senior Vatican clerics who signed off.

Finally, if Mincione’s actions proceed, it’s likely that at least those cases will still be in the High Court’s pipeline when Oct. 4 rolls around, regardless of the Vatican’s own legal calendar. That’s the date when the Peter’s Pence collection is now scheduled, after having been delayed from its usual date of June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, due to the coronavirus.

Because there would still be an active legal process, it’s all the more likely that memories of the London scandal won’t have dimmed by the time Catholics around the world once more are asked to donate, and it will be interesting to see what they’re told when the moment comes.


5. US Catholic bishops: Louisiana abortion ruling ‘a cruel precedent’, By Catholic News Agency, June 29, 2020, 1:01 PM

Monday’s Supreme Court decision overturning a Louisiana law holding abortion clinics to the same standards as other surgical centers ‘continues a cruel precedent’, the chair of the US bishops’ pro-life committee reflected.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas commented shortly after the ruling that abortion “violently ends the life of a child, and often severely harms women. Abortion becomes even more destructive when basic health and safety standards are ignored, and profit margins are prioritized over women’s lives.”

“The Court’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women’s health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent. As we grieve this decision and the pregnant women who will be harmed by it, we continue to pray and fight for justice for mothers and children,” Archbishop Naumann stated.


6. Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions, By Megan Mineiro and Jack Rodgers, Courthouse News Service, June 29, 2020

In another blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday that a Louisiana law imposing restrictions on doctors who perform abortions is unconstitutional.

“It is a sad reflection of our society’s disregard for the well-being of women that a common-sense regulation meant to protect them from incompetent, dangerous practitioners should give way to political and ideological interests,” Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser for The Catholic Association, said in a statement Monday.


7. Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions, By Helen Alvaré, National Catholic Register, June 29, 2020, Opinion

June Medical raised several legal questions with important implications for the future of abortion law: first, whether or not abortionists have what is called “standing” to challenge laws that were enacted in order to better vet abortionists to ensure that they provide safe medical services to women. “Standing” requires that the party challenging a law has or will suffer an actual injury to a legally cognizable interest. This question is important because the vast majority of cases seeking to overturn abortion restrictions are filed by abortion doctors and clinics, not by individual women. It is also important because of the obvious conflicts of interest in cases like this one, where abortionists are seeking to quash a law that could make abortion safer for their patients.

The five justices in the majority concluded that the abortionists and abortion clinics had standing, even though abortionists do not have any sort of “right” to practice abortion that the Louisiana law burdens.

The next important question the Court considered is the appropriate standard for reviewing abortion laws. The plurality justices stood by the standard that the Court (then including Justice Anthony Kennedy) adopted in Whole Woman’s Health. It allows the Court to conduct the kind of test that legislators use when they evaluate whether or not to pass a law: whether the benefits of the law outweigh the burdens the law imposes, considering the law’s object. This test differs from the one announced in the Casey decision. There, the Court did not claim a right to balance benefits and burdens; rather, it analyzed whether the effects of an abortion restriction constituted a “substantial obstacle” or “undue burden” upon a woman’s access to legal abortion.

Five justices, including Chief Justice Roberts and the four dissenters, rejected the Whole Woman’s Health test. But because Roberts believed that the Louisiana law would constitute a substantial obstacle to abortion for a large fraction of Louisiana women, he voted to strike down the law, even as he disagreed with the test the majority employed to do it!

The third important question June Medical considered concerns whether or not the law makes abortion too difficult to obtain for a large number of Louisiana abortion clients. The majority held that it did. Employing detailed geographic and doctor-specific details (and even maps, printed in the opinion), the Court concluded that the vast majority of doctors and clinics would go out of business were the admitting-privileges law to stand, leaving many women without a sufficiently-close-by abortionist.

This part of the plurality opinion extended tremendous deference to the claims of the abortionists and the clinics, regarding how hard they had tried to obtain admitting privileges, and what would happen if they failed. On this matter, Justices Alito and Gorsuch were particularly appalled.

Finally, only Justice Thomas took direct aim at Roe and Casey. In memorable language, he referred to the reading of the Constitution on which it is based as “legal fiction” and the “putative right to abortion [as] a creation that should be undone.” He wrote that it is “farcical” to imagine that the legislators who created the 14th Amendment’s “due process” language intended it to protect a procedure nearly completely banned in every state and territory in the U.S. at the time it was passed. He called Roe a “demonstrably erroneous” decision.

Helen Alvaré is a professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.


8. ‘The Roberts Court’: U.S. Chief Justice Cements Pivotal Role, By Reuters, June 29, 2020

Conservative U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts cemented his role as the Supreme Court’s dominant figure by siding with the four liberal justices in a trio of major rulings this month including Monday’s 5-4 decision striking down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law.

“It’s part of a troubling pattern,” said Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative legal group that has advocated for Trump’s judicial appointments including Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

“Ironically, in an effort to appear less political, he appears to be making decisions that are in fact premised on politics,” Severino added, referring to Roberts.


TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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