So apparently the wimmin-folk at the Supreme Court picked up an ultrasound wand and beat some slack-jawed yokel solicitor general from Texas about the head and neck for a couple hours and there wasn’t a GOD DAMNED thing John Roberts could do about it:
It felt as if, for the first time in history, the gender playing field at the high court was finally leveled, and as a consequence the court’s female justices were emboldened to just ignore the rules. Time limits were flouted to such a degree that Chief Justice John Roberts pretty much gave up enforcing them. I counted two instances in which Roberts tried to get advocates to wrap up as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor simply blew past him with more questions. There was something wonderful and symbolic about Roberts losing almost complete control over the court’s indignant women, who are just not inclined to play nice anymore.***
So frustrated is Justice Elena Kagan by the conservatives’ repeated insistence that perhaps the clinics just coincidentally all closed within days of HB 2’s passage that she finally has to intervene. “Is it right,” she asks Toti, “that in the two-week period that the ASC requirement was in effect, that over a dozen facilities shut their doors, and then when that was stayed, when that was lifted, they reopened again immediately?” Toti agrees. “It’s almost like the perfect controlled experiment,” continues Kagan, “as to the effect of the law, isn’t it? It’s like you put the law into effect, 12 clinics closed. You take the law out of effect, they reopen?”***
Ginsburg begins by asking Keller how many Texas women live more than 100 miles from an abortion clinic. When he tells her that women in El Paso can hop over the border to New Mexico, she stops him short. “That’s odd,” she muses, “that you point to the New Mexico facility. New Mexico doesn’t have any surgical ASC requirement, and it doesn’t have any admitting requirement. So if your argument is right, then New Mexico is not an available way out for Texas because Texas says to protect our women, we need these things.” (This is where I want to call up each of the men who demanded that Ginsburg retire in 2014 and just smile, and smile, and smile.)
Sotomyor tags in: “According to you, the slightest health improvement is enough to impose on hundreds of thousands of women. Even assuming I accept your argument, which I don’t, necessarily, because it’s being challenged, but the slightest benefit is enough to burden the lives of a million women. That’s your point?”
Ginsburg: “I can’t imagine. What is the benefit of having a woman take those pills in an ambulatory surgical center when there is no surgery involved?
Read the whole glorious piece by Dahlia Lithwick. I can’t wait to hear the audio, and I would seriously love 5-6 women on the court. Common sense for a damned change.