Friday, February 28, 2020

Spring 2020 SCOTUS in the Classroom Case

Spring 2020 SCOTUS in the Classroom Case

We are excited to announce our Spring SCOTUS in the Classroom case: June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (formerly June Medical Services LLC v. Gee). This case involves a challenge to a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. It will be argued on March 4, 2020.

Street Law will post case materials as they become available on the SCOTUS in the Classroom program page. Teachers and students are encouraged to hold moot courts (or mini-moot courts) of the case the same week that the Supreme Court hears arguments, giving students the opportunity to follow discussion and analysis in the news and listen to or read a transcript of the actual oral arguments at the Court. You can find instructions and handouts for conducting a moot court at SCOTUS in the Classroom.

Case Background

In 2014, the state of Louisiana passed a law requiring all doctors who provide abortions to have active admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. If allowed to go into effect, it was predicted that the law would leave one abortion provider at one clinic who was legally able to perform abortions in the state of Louisiana.

Before this law could take effect, June Medical Services, a company that operates an abortion clinic in the state, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court. It argued that the law unconstitutionally posed an undue burden on a woman’s right to have an abortion. In response, the District Court granted a temporary injunction that prevented the law from taking effect in order to give doctors time to apply for admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Doctors tried for over a year to obtain privileges but were denied, so the District Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. 

The state of Louisiana appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the District Court’s decision. The law was about to go into effect, so June Medical Services filed an application for an emergency stay with the U.S. Supreme Court and filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to take the case. At the same time, Louisiana challenged June Medical Services’ standing to sue. The Supreme Court agreed to hear both cases. Therefore, before the Supreme Court decides if the Louisiana law is constitutional, it must first decide if June Medical Services has standing to sue.

Learn more about Street Law's SCOTUS in the Classroom resources.

SCOTUS in the Classroom is made possible by the support of the Supreme Court Historical Society

Image: Closeup of a doctor's stethoscope and medical notes