Leaked Supreme Court Abortion Decision Brings Little Long-Term Clarity

Kagan, writing for herself and Sotomayor, agreed with dismissing the appeal but for different reasons. “I do so because Idaho’s arguments about EMTALA do not justify, and have never justified, either emergency relief or our early consideration of this dispute,” she wrote. She also signaled that she agreed with the decision because it would block the Idaho law from taking effect while litigation continued. “That will prevent Idaho from enforcing its abortion ban when the termination of a pregnancy is needed to prevent serious harms to a woman’s health,” Kagan wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, argued in dissent that the court should not dismiss the case and instead rule in Idaho’s favor. (Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson also dissented on dismissal, but said the court should rule in the federal government’s favor.) Alito, with an air of frustration, said that the court’s “about-face” was “baffling.”

“Everything there is to say about the statutory interpretation question has probably been said many times over,” he wrote. “That question is as ripe for decision as it ever will be. Apparently, the Court has simply lost the will to decide the easy but emotional and highly politicized question that the case presents.”