By Robert A. Vella
Today was a very eventful Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court on three areas of constitutional law which should have long-lasting effects.
Anthony Kennedy joined with the court’s four liberal justices in striking down a recent Texas law which severely restricted access to abortion services in that state primarily affecting low-income women. The court ruled that the state’s hospital “admitting privileges” requirement for abortion clinics imposed an “undue burden” on women seeking such services. Although the Texas law was struck down, similar laws in other states were not directly affected by this decision because of differences in the statutes.
In rejecting a challenge filed on behalf of two Marines, the court upheld a federal law which revokes gun ownership rights from individuals convicted of domestic violence.
Lastly, and quite disturbingly in my opinion, the court overturned the criminal conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who had been found guilty in 2014 of bribery charges in a federally prosecuted case. Many independent observers are seeing the court’s stunning 8-0 decision as delivering a devastating blow to legal efforts attempting to curb escalating incidents of corruption in an era where money and quid pro quo relationships have inundated the nation’s political system.