Supreme Court Makes Decisions On Abortion, Transgender, And Border Cases.

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down decisions that left audience members either clapping or scowling. According to recent rulings, both sides of the abortion debate have reason to celebrate, as do those that want greater accountability for border control agents.
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The abortion case contained two different aspects of a law that Vice President Mike Pence passed while he was the governor of Indiana. One part of that law required fetal remains to be disposed of separately from surgical byproducts following an abortion. The other law prohibited abortion when the decision was based on race, sex, or potential disability of the fetus.
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The unsigned court ruling disagreed with the Seventh Circuit’s decision that blocked part of the law that involved the disposal of fetal remains. The court ruled that because the law didn’t present a burden against a woman’s ability to receive an abortion, it was only required to pass a low level of investigation that identifies it as "rationally related to legitimate government interests." The court found that the requirement was met because it was related to the interest of "proper disposal of fetal remains."
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When it came down to the prohibition of race-, sex-, or disability-based abortion, the court fumbled. Because the Supreme Court refused to hear the issue, they effectively left the Seventh Court’s decision in place, allowing these abortions to go on. The Supreme Court did mention that their decision was solely based on the fact that only one circuit court had ruled on the decision so far, and "expresses no view on the merits of ... whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex-, race-, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers." This means that the court could rule against the decision in the future.
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In the case of Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, where students in Pennsylvania were pushing against a school policy that allowed students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their gender identity rather than their actual sex at birth. The policy was left in place because the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
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The policy was implemented at the Boyertown Area School District after the Obama administration issued a letter explaining that transgender students should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they choose to use. When the Trump administration abolished that ruling, the Boyertown Area School District continued to use the policy. It takes four justices to decide to hear a case, but with five conservatives in their ranks, they didn’t feel the need to hear the case.
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Then there’s the case of Hernandez v. Mesa, where a 15-year-old Mexican boy’s family has been trying to sue a Border Patrol Agent in relation to a cross-border shooting. The Fifth Circuit had previously ruled that Agent Mesa was protected by qualified immunity, saving him from being sued for damages. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear both side’s arguments before deciding whether or not the Hernandez family is able to sue.
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On Tuesday, the court decided on the case of Home Depot v. Jackson, which held a 5-4 decision where Justice Clarence Thomas actually sided with his liberal cohorts. Their decision favored a customer of Home Depot who was sued in state court in by Citibank, N.A. in a debt-collection case. The customer then filed a counterclaim with Home Depot as a defendant, claiming unfair trade practices. Home Depot attempted to move the case to federal court, but the Supreme Court sided with the customer, saying that because Home Depot wasn’t a defendant in the initial lawsuit, they couldn’t do that.
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Last week, Gorsuch affirmed Native American’s hunting rights. One week prior to that, Kavanaugh was the one conservative in a 5-4 decision that allowed Apple to face a lawsuit over its pricing in the app store.
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Another case was decided on Tuesday in which a mix of Justices stood on the same side. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion in Nieves v. Bartlett, and he was joined by conservatives Alito and Kavanaugh, along with liberals Breyer and Kagan. The court decided that if there is evidence that a police officer arrested someone based on something they said, it isn’t a First Amendment violation if there was probable cause for the arrest in the first place.
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