John Roberts Would Likely Allow Hearings on Partial-Birth Abortion Suit

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 27, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John Roberts Would Likely Allow Hearings on Partial-Birth Abortion Suit Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 27, 2005

Washington, DC ( — President Bush has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case concerning an appeal court’s decision to overturn the national ban on partial-birth abortions.

The Supreme Court typically hears appeals regarding a court decision overturning a Congressional law and John Roberts, should be confirmed this week as the next chief justice, would likely push the court to take the case.

The nation’s high court is normally asked to hear thousands of cases each year, but only has time to hold hearings on fewer than 200.

In the Justice Department’s brief to the Supreme Court requesting a hearing, Solicitor General Paul Clement argues that the Supreme Court traditionally allows cases to proceed if they involve an act of Congress, such as the partial-birth abortion ban.

"This Court’s ordinary practice is to grant certiorari when a court of appeals holds a federal statute unconstitutional," he said.

During Roberts’ confirmation hearings, pro-abortion Sen. Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, asked Roberts which cases "would make the cut" for the Supreme Court agenda.

Roberts said he thought the court should "grant review in cases in which a lower court strikes down an act of Congress."

"I don’t think that’s an absolute rule but certainly is a general matter," Roberts explained. "If an act of Congress is going to be declared unconstitutional, I think the Supreme Court ought to be the one determining that as a final matter and generally not leave it to a court of appeals."

Should the Supreme Court allow hearings, they would likely be scheduled for next spring. By that time, it is likely that Roberts and a second new justice will be sitting on the bench, replacing pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist and pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.